Hi Toni,

I follow your column and clip them for future reference. I am now approaching 65 in August. I need to enroll in Medicare and learn the plan differences between Medicare and an Advantage Program I am considering.

I understand I can sign up at Social Security, however, I would appreciate any resources you may provide so I make the best decision. And thanks for the informative articles!

Jane from Oklahoma



Don’t feel alone because those entering the maze of Medicare are completely stressed with what their Medicare options could be. They know that one wrong move can jeopardize their 401K or savings for their retirement.

Let’s discuss a few basic facts that every Baby Boomer should know about enrolling in Medicare and receiving their Social Security benefits:

Enrolling in Medicare:

  • Enroll on time: Medicare is automatic for those turning 65 when receiving your Social Security check. If not receiving your Social Security check and not working full time with true company benefits from either your or your spouse’s work, then you will want to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B online at socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. Jane, you do not have to go to the Social Security office to enroll. Those working full-time with true company benefits or covered under their spouse’s benefits may want to delay enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B until they finally retire or happen to be laid off from their current employment.
  • Learn Medicare’s alphabet soup…Parts A, B, C & D: Medicare Parts A and B cover hospital, medical and provider expenses which are referred to as “Original Medicare” and the healthcare professionals refer to it as “Traditional Medicare”. Medicare Part C, known as Medicare Advantage plan, is another way of receiving your medical care.  Part D is Medicare’s Prescription Drug plans. Visit tonisays.com and download Toni’s complimentary 2017 Medicare costs and Medicare Prescription Drug Survival Guide.
  • Medicare is NOT free: There is a cost associated with Medicare Parts A and B. You have been paying tax dollars for Medicare and the premium for Part A is at no cost because you have paid into the tax system if you have worked 10 years or 40 quarters.  Medicare Part B has a premium that is based on how much you have earned the previous year.

Receiving Social Security benefits:

  • Eligible for Social Security if you worked (and paid into the system) for 40 quarters.
  • You can claim a benefit based on your own work history or on your Spouse’s Social Security earnings record.
  • Your benefit is based on the highest 35 years of earnings. Sometimes working through your 60s might be helpful if it knocks out lower-income years from the benefit calculation.
  • If married at least 10 years before you divorced or if your marriage ended in death of your spouse, you may be eligible to claim on your divorced spouse or deceased spouse’s Social Security record. (This information available at www.socialsecurity.gov in Suzy Orman’s column regarding “What Every Woman Should Know about Social Security!”)

Jane, take your time when exploring your Medicare options with your doctor’s office regarding which Medicare plan meets your specific medical needs.  Social Security can answer questions about your Social Security benefits, but they will not customize a plan for you. Email info@tonisays.com your specific Medicare or Social Security questions.

Confused about Medicare/Social Security Workshop-Thursday- June 15th 6:30 – 8:30PM at the Fort Bend Chamber Bldg., 445 Commerce Green Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Seating is limited.  Please RSVP 832/519-8664. ©

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