UNITED STATES—Toni: I am a confused Baby Boomer who needs to make my Medicare decision in November 2019 when I turn 65. I do not know where to start or what to do? Can you please help simplify this ordeal? Thanks Janet from Atlanta, GA.

Janet: Don’t feel alone because there is 1 Boomer entering Medicare every 8 seconds every day for the next 15+ years. Most are completely stressed with what their Medicare options are because they know that one wrong move can jeopardize their 401K, they worked so hard for and is all they have left for their retirement days.

Below are 9 facts from an article discussing what every Baby Boomer should know regarding Medicare:

1)       Enroll on time: The only way Medicare is automatic for those turning 65 is when one is already receiving their Social Security check. If you are not receiving your Social Security check and not working full time with true company benefits from either you or your spouse’s work, then you will want to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B via online at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. Those working full-time with true company benefits or are 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.

2)       Medicare is NOT free: Medicare covers a lot and 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. Medicare Part B has a premium which is means tested depending on how much you have earned for that year. In 2019, an average Medicare beneficiary pays $135.50 each month for Part B premium. 2019 Medicare Part A (hospital) deductible is $1364 not once a year but is every 60 days or 6 times a year. 2019 Medicare Part B deductible is $185 once a year with Medicare paying 80 percent of the Medicare approved amount and you paying the remainder 20 percent.

3)       Learn Medicare’s alphabet soup…Parts A, B, C & D: Medicare Parts A and B cover hospital, medical and provider expenses. Medicare Part C known as Medicare Advantage plan is another way of receiving your Medicare benefits. Part D is Medicare Prescription Drug plans that can be enrolled as a stand-alone plan with a Medicare Supplement with Original Medicare or bundled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

4)       Medicare covers a lot: Medicare Part A covers in-patient hospital, skilled nursing facility care, home health and hospice care. Medicare Part B covers physicians’ services, outpatient surgery/services, lab/X-rays, MRIs, durable medical equipment and preventative services, etc.

5)       Medicare doesn’t cover: Medical services not covered are vision, hearing or dental expenses as well as Long Term Care.

6)       No Network with Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement/Medigap: Your healthcare profession or facility bills Medicare.

7)       Medicare Serves Under 65 Also: Those under 65 on Social Security Disability or ESRD (end stage renal disease) qualify when they meet Medicare’s requirements

8)       Medicare Advantage May Be a Good Option: Know that you can chose between Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies.

9)       Make the Most of Medicare: Schedule your important screenings, wellness visits or preventative care.

When one visits, the Toni Says office for a Medicare consultation, we tell them to forget everything they know about their old health insurance plans because Medicare is totally different! To customize your various Medicare options, call the Toni Says Medicare Call Center at 1-844-250-8664.

Toni King, is giving a $5 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.