UNITED STATES—Toni: My husband, who is turning 65 this April, was laid off from a major engineering firm this year and the only way he can make a living is as an engineer on a contract basis as a 1099 employee with no benefits. I am a stay at home wife, who is now on COBRA.

My question for you is about whether he should apply for Medicare and since he will live outside of the United States, can he receive Medicare coverage in the various oil related countries overseas where he will be living and traveling on a daily basis. How does Medicare pay if he is receiving care while he is working overseas?

By the way, he is living in Saudi Arabia and I will have to email him your answers. Thanks, Alicia from Atlanta, GA.

Hello Alicia, Yes…your husband should enroll in Medicare because he is not working full time with “true” company benefits.  Medicare will NOT pay for any medical care while one is overseas. I will discuss what your husband should do while working overseas and get medical care later in this article.

The first thing your husband needs to know is that because he is turning 65, this April his time is ticking to have Medicare begin by April 1st when his Medicare Parts A and B can begin.  He can go online in January to www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly to enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B.

Medicare gives you a 7 month window to enroll before one begins receiving the “famous” Part B penalty. The 7 month window starts 3 months before your turn 65, the month you turn 65 and 3 month after which is called Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period.

During a Toni Says Medicare consultation, the team stresses the unique value of receiving Medicare Part B for the first time, such as when one is turning 65 and/or past 65 and retiring with “true” company benefits.

During this unique time, when one is enrolling in a Medicare supplement such as your husband may want to, he will have a 6 month, Medigap Open Enrollment Period where he will not have to answer any health questions to qualify for the specific Medicare supplement plan.

Your husband will have Medicare Parts A and B with a Medicare Supplement to take care of his medical care while in the United States. At this time, he can also enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

He needs to be aware that a Medicare Supplement does not have adequate coverage for traveling overseas to foreign countries, but it is very limited.

He should apply for travelers insurance to help with any type of medical need while he is working and use his Medicare when he comes back to the states.

Alicia, you also will want to have traveler’s insurance in place, when you go to visit him overseas.

If he does have health issues while overseas and is enrolled in a Medicare Supplement, then he can use the Supplement when he comes back to the states for his health needs.

Many believe that nothing will happen to them medically, but are saddened when they do have a health need and must pay 100 percent out of their pocket.  Therefore, we assist a Toni Says® Medicare client with proper Medicare planning for all of their Medicare options.

Is the maze of Medicare confusing you? Visit www.abbs4u.com and attend ABBS (American Baby Boomer Society) Medicare courses for more Medicare education.

Happy New Year from Toni and the Toni Says® team with a $5 discount on the  Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book and bundle packages for the Toni Says® newspaper article readers at www.tonisays.com. Email questions to info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.