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 James retired from his job of 30+ years and now it seems we have to do this all over again. Could you explain what we need to do?

            Every day, our mailbox and phone is exploding with people telling me I have to make a Medicare change.  This is our first Medicare open enrollment experience and I don’t want to make the wrong move. Thanks, Sally, a West U reader

Sally:

            Stress is running rampant this Medicare Annual Enrollment season because the price of oil is sinking. Texans are concerned that they could lose their jobs or not have enough money for retirement because of a personal healthcare crisis.

             There is not a federal law that says you have to make a change to your Medicare.  You do not have to change your Medicare Supplement, you and your husband recently enrolled.

            At the Toni Says office, we advise our clients to always check their Part D plan for any significant changes.  If you see a change you should enroll in a new Medicare Part D plan to begin January 1st, 2017.

Below are a few tips to simplify your Medicare Annual Enrollment or if you are new to Medicare and want to make the best choice you can:

  • Medicare Tip #1: Know what Original Medicare covers…and what it doesn’t. What your Medicare Part A (in-patient hospital) deductible is and Medicare Part B (medical) that Medicare pays 80% of approved charges while you pay 20%.  Medicare Part B has a once a year deductible with a monthly premium that depends on your income.  Plans like Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage help to cover the 20% gap with some offering extra benefits like vision, dental, hearing or fitness memberships. Resources you may be interested in: http://tonisays.com/portfolio/medicare-plans-medicare-supplementmedicare-advantage-plans/
  • Medicare Tip #2: Learn your Medicare ABC& Ds. Part A is in patient hospital coverage. Part B is for medical/outpatient coverage such as doctor visits, doctor performing surgery, outpatient surgery, X-rays, MRIs, durable medical equipment, etc. Part C is Medicare Advantage plans that combine both Part A and B benefits with some plans having Part D prescription drugs included. Part D is for prescription drugs both stand-alone plans and Medicare Advantage Plans with Part D that have the “famous” donut hole. Resources you may be interested in: http://tonisays.com/portfolio/enrolling-in-medicare/gallery/educational-videos-articles/ 
  • Medicare Tip #3: 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.  Resources you may be interested in: http://tonisays.com/portfolio/medicare-supplemental-plans/
  • Medicare Tip #4: 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.
  • Medicare Tip #5: Don’t choose on premium alone. Make sure there aren’t hidden copays or other fees that will end up costing you money.

            Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide®, is on sale at www.tonisays.com.  Personal consultations or to have Medicare/Social Security questions answered, please contact Toni at www.tonisays.com/ask-toni or call 832-519-8664.

 

 

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