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2017-10-05

Toni’s Tips for Medicare Open Enrollment

Contributed

Toni:
I am hearing this, I’m hearing that from everybody. Toni, is there a federal law that I have to change my Medicare? The Toni Says® office helped my husband and me with our Medicare decision in January when Steven retired from his job of 30+ years. Now it seems we must do this all over again. Could you explain what we need to do?
Every day our mailbox and phones are exploding with marketers telling me I should make a Medicare change. This is our first Medicare open enrollment experience and I don’t want to make the wrong move. Thanks, Georgia, Tiki Island
Georgia:
There is always a bit of confusion around Medicare Open/Annual Enrollment season, but this year there is more stress and worry since many have experienced severe financial loss from Hurricane Harvey.
They are concerned they will not have enough money for retirement because they did not have flood insurance, and a severe medical issue could completely wipe out their nest egg they worked so many years for.
There is not a federal law that says you must make a change to your Medicare. You do not have to change your Medicare Supplement in which you and your husband recently enrolled.
At the Toni Says® office, we advise our clients to always check their Medicare Part D plan for any significant changes. If you see a change, you can enroll in a new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Part D plan that reflects the new changes from Sunday, Oct. 15 to Tuesday, Dec. 7. The new Medicare plan whether Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan will become effective Sunday, Jan. 1, 2018.
Below are Toni’s Medicare Tips to help simplify Medicare’s Open/Annual Enrollment and understand what your options can be:
Toni’s Medicare Tip #1:
Learn your Medicare ABC& Ds.
• Medicare Part A is inpatient hospital coverage.
• Medicare Part B is for medical/outpatient coverage such as doctor visits, a doctor performing surgery, outpatient surgery, X-rays, MRIs, durable medical equipment, etc. A Medicare Supplement can help you with your Original Medicare out of pocket costs.
• Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage plan that combines both Medicare Part A and B benefits with some plans having Medicare Part D prescription drugs included. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits such as vision, dental, hearing or fitness memberships.
• Medicare Part D is for prescription drugs, both stand-alone plans and Medicare Advantage Plans with Part D that have the “famous” donut hole.
Toni’s Medicare Tip #2: Keep in mind not all Medicare plans are created equal. Plans and benefits differ from company to company and even state to state. Do your research especially if you will be moving to a new area.
Toni’s Medicare Tip #3: Research Medicare Part D plans every Medicare Annual Enrollment.
Plans can change benefits and the drug formulary for the next year and try to stay out of that year’s donut hole.
Toni’s Medicare Tip #4: Don’t choose on premium alone.
Make sure there aren’t hidden copays or other fees that will end up costing you money.
Concerned about what Medicare Open Enrollment options are available for you? Go to http://tonisays.com/index.php/webinar/ and sign up for our free Confused About Medicare Webinars or call the new Toni Says Medicare Call Center at 1/844-250-8664 to have your Medicare questions or concerns answered or email info@tonisays.com.
Toni King is author of the Medicare Survival Guide®. It is on sale at www.tonisays.com