By Kim Powell
MIDLAND - "Hitting 60 meant nothing to me," Glenda Southerland said. "65 meant nothing to me until I've been turned down because I'm of 'Medicare age.'"
Southerland says she's never felt old until recently when she tried to find a new doctor. She stopped seeing her previous doctor of 20 years after he started a concierge program which requires patients to pay an annual fee. Now she's faced with the trouble of finding a doctor in Midland who will not only accept her insurance, but also her age.
"When I told her my birth date, she goes, 'oh I'm sorry but you're of medicare age,'" Southerland explained. "And I said, 'well what difference does that make? I have private insurance.' She said, 'well, we're just not going to take someone your age.'"
Despite Southerland still using private insurance, by law she had to sign up for Medicare when she turned 65.
One local doctor, who accepts Medicare, says many physicians in the basin are starting to turn away older patients because they do the same amount of work but will get a smaller reimbursement.
"Doctors also need to make money. You know, they need to feed their families as well and so if reimbursement by the government doesn't improve, it might just be something that a lot of doctors might be forced into," Dr. Anna Gotardo, a family physician with Premier Physicians said.
Southerland says that healthy or not, the future of medical care doesn't seem promising.
"The world of medicine right now is very scary for someone my age, because bills are so high and the ability to take care of those bills without the proper insurance is very difficult," Southerland said.
NewsWest 9 tried to contact Southerland's doctors for a comment but have not heard back.