Medicare Open Enrollment


I turn 65 next March 2016 and am absolutely baffled by all of the mail I am receiving on this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment. Is there something that I need to do for this enrollment time? All of the mail is informing me that I need to do something NOW!! But what??

I do not want to miss an enrollment period that can cause me a penalty all of my friends at church are talking about. Look forward to what you have to say.

Sabrina Friendswood, TX


Morning, Sabrina:

You have to do NOTHING…Nada!!! You are not 65 yet. Medicare Open Enrollment is only for those already on Medicare!!

You have no idea how often I am asked this question by those new to Medicare who are absolutely horrified about making a Medicare mistake and receiving a penalty that can last a lifetime. The answer to your question is NO…you do not have to do a thing during this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment for 2015 because you are not 65 yet. You have not enrolled in Medicare yet.

Now next year, 2016’s Medicare Open Enrollment period is when you can make a change to your Part D plan or change or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

One MUST have already turned 65 before Medicare Open Enrollment for this time period to affect you. Since you are turning 65 in March now is a good time to find out which Medicare option is right choice for your specific Medicare needs.

As we say in our office, “Medicare is not cookie cutter…one size or plan does not fit all.” Although the insurance companies marketing their specific Medicare plans want you to believe that. Your health and prescriptions needs are not the same as your friends and so you cannot compare your Medicare to theirs.

Here are the 3 steps I use when helping my clients decide which Medicare plan meets their specific needs.

Step #1: Decide if you want “Original Medicare” or a “Medicare Advantage” plan.

  1. Talk to your doctor and see which plan he/she recommends. Many doctors are accepting “Original Medicare” and not Medicare Advantage plans.         
  2. The main difference between “Original Medicare” and Medicare Advantage plans is “Original Medicare” works only with Medicare and generally, you or your supplemental coverage pay the deductibles or coinsurances.
  3. A Medicare Advantage plan is also called 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.

Step #2: Explore your Medicare Part D prescriptions drug plan choices.

  1. If you want Medicare Prescription Drug coverage to go along with “Original Medicare” then you must enroll in a standalone Medicare Part D plan with a private insurance company that is approved by Medicare and there is a premium.
  2. If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, please make sure that the plan has Part D Medicare Prescription Drug coverage included and talk to your doctor to be sure that he/she is still accepting that plan.

Step #3: If you chose “Original Medicare you may want Medicare supplemental (Medigap) coverage to fill the gaps of “Original Medicare”.

  1. You can choose to buy a Medigap/Medicare Supplement policy from a private insurance company. Cost will vary by policy and company.

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St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Medicare Workshop – Tuesday, October 27th 
From 6:00PM-8:00PM, located at 6800 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX 77025. Please RSVP 832-519-8664.


Toni King is the author of the Medicare Survival Guide®, which is on sale at HERE. For a personal consultation, please contact Toni at Ask Toni. is expanding in January with Medicare Peace University. Visit Medicare Peace University for more information.

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