Spring, A Time for Optimism

This is the season for optimism and milestones: graduating medical students and residents, new faculty from the graduating resident class—including the milestone of getting the suspicious looking postcard notice in the mail reminding me that I’ll soon be eligible for open enrollment in Medicare.

No kidding, I got my first ever Medicare Open Enrollment postcard notice although, of course, it was not from any government agency as the Medicare Open Enrollment Inquiry Card indicated. This notice was obviously a lure from an anonymous marketer soliciting for one or more insurance companies, “SD Reply Center” in Rockwall, Texas.

Don’t get sucked in by this hustle. This has been going on for years. I found an on line news story from 2012 written by Bob LaMendola, with the Sun Sentinel in South Florida.

This is widely viewed as a scam, and the company targets seniors (yes, I am one of those). If you send back the card with all of your personal data on it which they request, outfits like SD Reply Center (SD stands for Senior Direct) will sell it to insurers who may knock on your door. Insurers themselves are forbidden by federal and state laws from sending these postcards or otherwise soliciting seniors unless we request them. While it’s not against the law for companies like SD Reply Center to solicit seniors, consumer advocates advise us not to mail our personal information to the sender of an anonymous postcard. While it may not be harmful, seniors are then in the difficult position of fending off eager insurance salespersons.

I will be shredding my postcard. But I will remain aware of Medicare open enrollment and pursue less worrisome avenues for more information about my coverage options. You have to keep your eyes peeled for trouble.

Speaking of trouble, our birds are in a lot of it. Right after the house finches lost their nestlings, the cardinals lost their only chick, probably to the same predatory crow that took the house finch babies. The cardinal and house finch parents are now gone.

The cardinal nest is empty.

However, while the robins might have abandoned the under-the-deck nest (not clear, my wife says she saw one flying under our deck), they may have settled into our front yard crabapple tree. It’s thick with flowers right now and provides excellent cover for the brand new nest the floor of which still needs work (just like the nest under our deck needed for a while).

Spring is a time of optimism. Hope springs eternal in the human breast—and in the robin redbreast.

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