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Is it Medicare time for me if I’m turning 65?

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Toni,

I turn 65 in March and am overwhelmed by the marketing calls/mail I am getting regarding enrolling in Medicare. Each company says theirs is the best, but they all offer the same thing with dental, vision and gym membership.

Everybody says if I do not enroll in Medicare at the right time, I will get a penalty that will last the rest of my life. How does someone know what is the right decision for their Medicare? I look forward to your answer.

--Monty from Pittsburgh, Penn.

Monty,

The answer to your question is you do NOTHING!!! NADA!!! during this Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Medicare’s “Open Enrollment” or AEP) because you are not 65 and won’t be enrolled in Medicare until March.

Next year’s Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Medicare’s Open Enrollment) is when you, Monty, can make a change to your Part D plan, change, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with or without a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

You must have already turned 65 or be under 65 and be already enrolled in Medicare to enroll or change either a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan during Medicare’s Open Enrollment.

Monty, since you are turning 65 in March, you will be in your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period -- the 7-month period that begins 3 months prior to March, the month of March and 3 months after -- starting in December. So December is a good time to begin enrolling in Medicare and exploring which Medicare options best fit your specific medical and prescription drug needs. (Chapter 1 of Toni’s Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition discusses in depth how to enroll in Medicare whether turning 65 or still working past 65.)

 

Talk with your medical providers to discover what type of Medicare plan -- whether Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug plan or Original/Traditional Medicare with a Medicare Supplement and a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan -- is right for your health situation and the prescriptions you are taking.

As we say at the Toni Says Medicare office, “Medicare is not a cookie cutter; one size or plan does not fit everyone.” The insurance companies market their specific Medicare plans and want you to believe that theirs is perfect for you.

TV commercials by Medicare Advantage plans (not disclosed on the commercials that these are Advantage plans) that return money back on your Social Security check such as the “Give-Back” or “Premium Reduction” are based on your income and not automatically approved. Always talk with your health care professional when you are planning to make a major Medicare insurance change, because that provider or office may not be in that specific Medicare Advantage plan’s network.

Toni Says Alert: The Medicare AEP is for those who are under 65 and on Social Security Disability or are already 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare. You do not have to make a change during the AEP if you are pleased with your current plan, such as a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement.

Are you concerned that your medical providers or facilities are not accepting the Medicare Advantage plan which you are considering? There are specific Medicare rules when changing from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement. Please beware! With Medicare, it’s what you DON’T know that will HURT YOU!

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Toni King is an author and columnist on Medicare and health insurance issues. She has spent nearly 30 years as a top sales leader in the field. If you have a Medicare question, email info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664. Toni’s books and her newsletter are available at www.tonisays.com.


Copyright 2023 Toni King, Distributed by Counterpoint Media

 

 

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