UNITED STATES—Toni: Read in your column last week that there is only 3 weeks to the Medicare Annual Enrollment period. I’m really confused on what I need to do.  I am receiving so much mail that I am stressed about making the wrong decision and messing up my Medicare.

Is there a law that I have to change my Medicare?  You helped my husband and me with our Medicare decision in January when my husband retired from his job of 30+ years and now it seems we have to do this all over again. Could you explain what we need to do? Thanks, Alice from Philadelphia, PA.

Hello Alice: Stress is running rampant this Medicare Annual Enrollment season because the price of the economic times that America is experiencing. Many are concerned that they could lose their jobs or better yet not have enough money for retirement because of a personal healthcare crisis.

Good News, Alice because there is not a law that says you must make a change to your Medicare.  You do not have to change your Medicare Supplement, which the Toni Says Medicare team assisted you and your husband to enroll in.   I would advise you to check your Part D plan for any significant changes.  If you see a change to enroll in a new Medicare Part D plan for next year beginning January 1, 2023.

Below are a few tips to simplify your Medicare Annual Enrollment or if you are new to Medicare and want to make the correct choice and personalize your Medicare just for you:

  • Medicare Tip #1: Learn your Medicare ABC and Ds. Part A is hospital coverage. Part B is for medical/outpatient coverage such as doctor visits and performing surgery. Part C is Medicare Advantage plans that combines both Part A and B benefits with some plans having Medicare Part D included. Part D is for prescription drugs with the “famous” donut hole and can be in Part C or a standalone plan.
  • Medicare Tip #2: Know what Original Medicare covers…and what it doesn’t.  What your Part A deductible is and for Part B that Medicare pays 80% of approved charges while you pay 20% and a once-a-year deductible with a monthly premium that depends on your income.
  • Medicare Tip #3: Keep in mind not all Medicare plans are created equal. Medicare Supplement works directly with Original Medicare and Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plans work differently with low or no premiums and different out of pocket than a Medicare Supplement. Do your research especially if you have health issues and may have expensive brand name prescriptions.
  • Medicare Tip #4 Research Medicare Part D plans every Medicare Annual Enrollment. Plans can change benefits and the drug formulary for the next year.
  • Medicare Tip #5: Don’t choose mainly on cost. Make sure there are not any hidden copays or other fees that will end up costing you money.

When one visits the Toni Says Medicare team to personalize their Medicare situation, we tell them to forget everything they know about their old employer or individual health plans because Original Medicare is different.

October’s Confused about Medicare Workshops:

  • Confused about Medicare Zoom Webinar on Wednesday, October 12 at 4-6:00PM.CST Visit Tonisays.com for the Zoom enrollment link.

Visit /www.seniorresource.com/medicare-moments to listen to Toni Says® new Medicare Moments podcasts.

Toni King, author of the 2022 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition is giving a $5 discount to Toni Says newspaper fans on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.