Only 6 Weeks to Oct. 15 – Medicare Open/Annual Enrollment begins

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Dear Toni: This is my first Medicare open/annual enrollment and I don't know anything about this process. I have been receiving tons of marketing material – which has confused me. Which program is a good choice between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage and which one is not? I do have some health problems and am concerned I am making the correct choice. 

My friends have said if I make the wrong choice I could lose my Medicare. I have a Masters degree and this is totally stressing me out. If you can show me direction, I would really appreciate it. –  Fred from Tulsa

Dear Fred: I am asked this question at least 20 times a week, and here’s what we tell our clients during a Toni Says® Medicare consultation when they are trying to decide which option is best for their Medicare during Medicare’s Open/Annual Enrollment period. This period is from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 every year.

When it comes to a Medicare plan, there is not a one size fits all option or a best plan. Take your time and search your options. You may be someone who only goes to the doctor once a year or you might be someone who has a long history of health issues.  

1) Talk to your doctor and see which type of plan he/she recommends, either an Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan.

2) Discover which Medicare Part D plan fits your needs whether it is a standalone plan with a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D included

Many are concerned about what happens if they make the wrong choice by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan and need to disenroll to return to Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement. 

There are health issues which can keep one from qualifying due to health questions in a Medicare Supplement’s application? Don’t worry; there are protections in place for this type of situation. 

A Medicare rule from the Medicare & You Handbook says: “If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time, and you aren’t happy with the plan, you’ll have special rights to buy a Medigap policy if you return to Original Medicare within 12 months of joining.” 

Below are 6 ways that a Medicare beneficiary can make a change to their Medicare plans during Medicare Annual/Open Enrollment:

1) Purchase a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

2) Change from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to a new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

3) Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with Prescription Drugs.

4) Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a new Medicare Advantage Plan.

5) Return to Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

6) Return to Original Medicare and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Concerned that your medical providers/facilities are not accepting the Medicare Advantage plan you are considering or is applying for a Medicare Supplement your right option? Maybe you are concerned about the “famous” Part D prescription drug “donut hole.”

Call the Toni Says® office at 832/519-8664 to have your Medicare questions or concerns answered, or email info@tonisays.com. Visit www.abbs4u.com and attend ABBS (American Baby Boomer Society) Medicare courses. Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced, offers a Toni Says® Medicare column readers discount available at www.tonisays.com.

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