UNITED STATES—This week’s Toni Says Medicare column has a different twist and consists of frequently asked Medicare questions from Toni Says® readers around the United States. Thank you from Toni Says® team for allowing us to help you navigate the maze of Medicare.

  1. “What if” I did not enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when I should because I do not want to pay that extra Part B premium each month? I do not go to the doctor, and I do not take any prescriptions. Can I enroll later?

Toni’s Says®: If you are past 65- and 90-days years old, not working full-time with true company benefits and decide to enroll in Medicare Part B; YOU must wait until Medicare’s General Enrollment Period, which is January 1 – March 31 of each year to enroll. You will now be penalized an additional 10 percent more for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B but did not sign up for it. Say you wait 3 years, which will be a 30 percent penalty. You will pay this late enrollment penalty for as long as you are on Medicare. Remember, you have ABSOLUTELY NO doctor coverage if you do not have Part B. You will pay 100 percent out of pocket for doctor care and any outpatient care, including Hospital, MRI, radiation, chemotherapy, and X-rays, etc. You will not be a HAPPY CAMPER! Get Part B when you are not working full-time with company benefits.

  1. “What if” I am past 65, have retired from work with company benefits and need to get Part B. What do I do?

Toni Says®: Before you have been terminated from your group plan and/or not working full-time, apply for Medicare Part B. Seek which plan best fits your needs such as a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage Plan. Talk to your doctor about what plans they accept. Search for which Medicare Prescription Drug Plan covers your prescriptions. Since you are leaving company benefits and receiving Medicare Part B, you only have 60 days to get Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. Try and do everything as soon as you become eligible for Part B. Contact the Toni Says Medicare Call Center at 832-519-8664 for Medicare planning that meets your specific Medicare needs.

3.“What if” my adult children or a friend help make my medical and financial decisions?

Toni’s Says®: Make sure that your decision maker is a signer on all your legal documents, such as your power of attorney, medical power of attorney and living will. The only way your care can be discussed with an insurance company, or any health care professional is with the person who has been named your power of attorney. This does not mean that you are losing control of making your own decisions but helps make sure that you are making wise medical and financial decisions.

  1. “What if” I am on a limited income and cannot afford my prescription drugs or the Part B premium?

Toni Says®: Contact or visit the Medicaid office and see if you qualify for Medicaid’s QMB or SLMB. Call your local Social Security office or apply online for “Extra Help if you do not qualify for Medicaid. Each year the amounts change. Get proactive about your Medicare! No one can do it for you. The worst Medicaid or Social Security can say regarding qualifying for extra assistance is NO.

Take your time and search which Medicare option meets your needs. Email Medicare questions to info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664 for Medicare help.

Confused about Medicare Zoom webinar is Thursday April 28 at 4 p.m. Visit www.tonisays.com to sign up for the Toni Says online webinar event.

Toni’s new 2022 Medicare Survival Guide® is available at www.tonisays.com.