I am turning 65 this August and have no idea what I should do because I have lung cancer. Currently I am on a COBRA policy from my old employer with all of my medical bills now being paid because I have met my deductible.
I receive all of my care from MD Anderson and am currently taking chemotherapy with my radiation treatments to start in July.
Do I enroll in Original Medicare with a Medicare supplement and get Part D, go with a Medicare Advantage plan or stay with my current COBRA plan until it ends in about 15 months. If you could help me sort this out I would greatly appreciate your help.
Jonathon from Spring,TX
Recently, I had a phone call from a frantic daughter, who was trying to help her father who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he had chosen a Medicare Advantage HMO when he turned 65. Now her father has to wait until Medicare’s annual enrollment in the fall to make a change back to Original Medicare because MD Anderson is not in that Medicare Advantage plan’s HMO network.
February 15th of every year begins lock-in for Medicare Advantage plans and one has to wait until October 15th –December 7th to make any changes back to Original Medicare for the following year.
I have good news for you, Jon…because you are turning 65 in August, there is a special enrollment time called Medicare Supplement /Medigap open enrollment.
As I have said before, this is the best time for someone to purchase a Medicare Supplement because the open enrollment period lasts for a 6-month period beginning the first day of the month in which you are 65 or you are older and have just enrolled in Part B for the first time.
During this open enrollment period, you may enroll in a Medicare Supplement and not have to answer any health questions to be accepted by any Medicare Supplement plan.
If you decide not to keep your COBRA plan, you do not have to worry about your medical care being taking care of with the Medicare Supplement, but after the 6 month window, you will have to submit to a complete underwritten application for a Medicare Supplement.
You may not qualify for a certain policy or it may cost more, if there are other health issues including the cancer after this 6 month window.
I have been advised by many healthcare professionals that some of the newest healthcare and cancer procedures are not readily approved by Medicare Advantage plans, but these procedures are generally approved with “Original or Traditional Medicare”. They have to fight everyday to get the care many desperately need when they have a Medicare Advantage plan.
Talk to your medical professional who knows your health situation when making your Medicare plan choice, even if you are someone with a serious health condition, such as heart problems, Alzheimer, MS, end stage renal disease and the list could go on and on…always talk to those that know your health situation.
Medicare Advantage plans are a good option when someone is relatively healthy.
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at www.tonisays.com Email questions or to schedule a “Confused about Medicare and Social Workshop” for your organization or company lunch and learn to email@example.com or call 832/519-TONI (8664).