I will be turning 65 on September 2nd and absolutely don’t know anything about Medicare, how to apply, when to apply where to apply? How to select to what and when?? Which Medicare plan is good and which one is not??
I own a small business (Just me and my wife) I intend to keep working until my body allows. If you can show me direction and help me, I will really appreciate your help. Thanks…A Confused New 65 year old from Sugar Land, TX
Dear New 65 Year Old:
I am asked this question at least 10 times a week and this is what I tell a new client when they are trying to navigate the maze of Medicare. In my book the Medicare Survival Guide, it discusses the two main Medicare coverage choices; Original Medicare Parts A and B with a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part C also known as Medicare Advantage Plans. Page 59 of the 2014 Medicare and You handbook, also discusses your Medicare options.
When it comes to Medicare, it is not a one size fits all type of policy. Take your time and search your options. Below are the steps to help you decide what option is right for you:
Step #1: Decide if you want “Original Medicare” with or without a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Talk to your doctor and see which plan he/she recommends. Many doctors are accepting “Original Medicare” and not Medicare Advantage plans.
- A Medicare Supplement helps to fill the deductibles and co pays in “Original Medicare”. You can purchase a Medicare Supplement policy from a private insurance company. Cost will vary by plan and company.
- If you have a doctor that is in the Medicare Advantage plan’s provider directory, make sure you call to verify that he/she is still accepting that particular Medicare Advantage plan. Sometimes providers are in the directory, but stopped accepting the plan long before it went to print.
- The main difference between “Original Medicare” with a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans is “Original Medicare” works only with Medicare and generally, you or your supplemental coverage pay the deductibles or coinsurances. You will use your Medicare (Red, White and Blue) card. Medicare Advantage plan is also call Part C and is administered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. You must use that insurance company’s card not your Medicare (Red, White and Blue) Card.
There is an important disclaimer at the bottom of page 59 of the Medicare handbook and it states: ‘If you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you don’t need a Medicare supplement policy and if you already have a Medicare supplement, you can’t use it to pay the out of pocket or co pays for the Medicare Advantage plan’. It also states that “if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can’t be sold a Medicare supplement/Medigap policy.”
Step #2: Decide if you want Part D prescription drug coverage. (Remember there is a Part D penalty if you don’t enroll at the right time)
- If you want Medicare Prescription Drug coverage to go along with “Original Medicare” then you must enroll in a Medicare Part D plan with a private insurance company that is approved by Medicare and generally there is a premium.
- If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, please make sure that the plan has Part D Medicare Prescription Drug coverage included.
To enroll in Medicare contact Social Security at 1/800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov at least 90 days before you turn 65 and enroll in both Part A (hospital) and Part B (Medical) of Medicare.
Join Toni and her team at the Confused About Medicare workshop:
- Chapel of Eternal Peace-Wednesday, March 12th from 6:00-8:00PM at the Chapel of Eternal Peace, 2454 S. Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077
RSVP at 832/800-4674
- Cypress Bible Church-Saturday, March 29th from 8:30 AM-11:00 AM at Cypress Bible Church,11711 Cypress- N. Houston Rd, Cypress, TX 77429 RSVP 832/800-4674
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in people terms, is on sales at www.tonisays.com. Email question or to schedule a “Confused about Medicare Workshop” to www.tonisays.com/ask-toni or call 832/519-TONI (8664)