Help Toni:

I am so nervous over what is happening with my late husband’s retirement benefits. He worked for IBM and they are cancelling his retiree Medicare coverage which I am covered with.  What do I do NOW??  I am a 73year old female who has never purchased insurance before and have no idea of what to look for.

My daughter has attended your workshop at The Abbey in August and she saves your articles each week. You understand Medicare and can explain to me what I need to do in such easy terms that I can comprehend

.          Thanks in advance…Marilyn from Pasadena area

Hello Ms. Marilyn:

You are the 1st person who has contacted me about losing retiree benefits because their company is either not covering the retirees and spouses or that the company is asking retirees to enroll in a  Medicare Advantage plan. This trend of companies not covering retirees began last fall during 2013’s Medicare Open Enrollment Period with Baker Hughes, TRS and CITGO to name a few companies not covering their retirees.

I am sure that there are others having the same problem because the letters informing the retirees are beginning to arrive in the mail box. Your IBM retirement plan is the first that I have heard of and I would like for my readers to email me if their company is doing the same and I can post it on the website, so that others are aware of what is happening.

Don’t WORRY!!  There is light at the end of the tunnel!! You have two                               options to pick from:

Option #1:  Medicare Supplement with a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)

Works directly with “Original Medicare” and gives more              freedom to go to any healthcare provider or doctor who accepts  Medicare assignment.   Marilyn…you have retirement benefits and since your company, IBM has sent you a letter saying that you will have no Medicare coverage after January 1, 2013, you will have guaranteed issue (which means you do not have to answer health questions and your policy will be issued).  Guaranteed issue is for certain Medicare Supplement plans depending on the insurance company you apply to . You will have 63 days to enroll in a Medicare Supplement to  receive guaranteed issue for a Medicare Supplement  because you are currently “not working” and retired on ompany benefits. You will want to search for a Medicare Part D plan that fits your needs and covers all of your drugs.  Call Medicare at 1/800-MEDIICARE(800/633-4227) or go online at to see which Part D Plan fits your needs.  You will have the same 63 days to enroll in a Part D plan without receiving a Part D (LEP) penalty.

Option #2:  Medicare Advantage Plan

With Open Enrollment for Medicare occurring from Tuesday October 15- December 7th, now is the time to search for the right Medicare Advantage plan to fit your health situation. Talk with your doctor about changing from “Original Medicare” to a Medicare Advantage plan.  Make sure your doctor or healthcare provider accepts the plan that you are exploring. Many Medicare Advantage plans contain Medicare Part D, so you may not have to enroll in a separate plan, if prescription drug is included.

If you have any other questions concerning losing your retirement benefits or searching for the right Medicare plan email me at

 Sugar Creek Baptist Church’s” Confused about Medicare” workshop is on Thursday, September 26,2013  at 6:30 PM at the Sugar Creek Baptist Church LYF Center, 13444 SW Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77478. The workshop is free and the public is invited.  RSVP as seating is limited RSVP 832/800-4674 or online at Visit to view which workshop is in your area.

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at “Confused About Medicare” workshop DVD (video) is now released and available for those who cannot attend a workshop. Email questions to or call 832/519-TONI (8664).

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