UNITED STATES—Toni: I am a confused Baby Boomer who needs to make my Medicare decision in November 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: Do not feel alone! There are 10,000 Baby Boomers entering Medicare 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 and life savings which they worked so hard for.

Below are Medicare Tips for Baby Boomers or those new to Medicare:

  • Tip #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.
  • Tip #2 Medicare is NOT FREE: Medicare covers a lot and there is a cost associated with Medicare Parts A and B. The premium for Part A is at no cost if you worked 10 years or 40 quarters and paid Medicare taxes. Medicare Part B has a premium which is means tested depending on how much you have earned for that year.  In 2021, an average Medicare beneficiary pays $148.50 each month for Part B premium. Medicare Part A (hospital) deductible for 2021 is $1484 not once a year but is every 60 days or 6 times a year. The 2021 Medicare Part B deductible is $203 once a year with Medicare paying 80 percent of the Medicare approved amount and you paying the remaining 20 percent.
  • Tip #3 Learn Medicare’s alphabet soup…Parts A, B, C & D: Original Medicare is Medicare Parts A and B which 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 Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement, or a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D included.
  • Tip #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.
  • Tip #5 Medicare doesn’t cover: Medical services not covered are vision, hearing or dental expenses or Long Term Care.
  • Tip #6 No Network with Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement/Medigap: Your healthcare provider or facility bills Medicare directly.
  • Tip #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 for enrollment.
  • Tip #8 Medicare Advantage May Be a Good Option: Know that you can choose between Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies.
  • Tip #9 Make the Most of Medicare: Schedule your important screenings, wellness visits or preventative care.

For Medicare enrollment questions call the Toni Says Medicare hotline at 832-519-8664 or email info@tonisays.com for help.

2021 Confused about Medicare and LTC Zoom webinar is Thursday, July 29 at 4 p.m. Visit www.tonisays.com to sign up for Toni’s new webinar event.

Toni King, Medicare author/advocate is giving a $5 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the new 2021Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.