UNITED STATES—Toni, I turn 65 in April and overwhelmed by all the mail I am getting this year for Medicare Annual Enrollment. What do I do? The mail from companies says theirs is the best, but they all offer the same thing with dental, vision and gym membership.

One Medicare Advantage commercial on TV says that they can put $144 back in your Social Security check. I am not receiving my Social Security check and wonder how I can get the $144.

If I do not enroll in Medicare at the right time everybody says I will get a penalty that will last the rest of my life. How does someone know what is the right decision for their situation? Look forward to your answer. Matt from Atlanta, GA.

Matt, the answer to your question is you can do NOTHING!!! NADA!!! During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment) because you are not 65 yet and have not enrolled in Medicare.

Next year’s, Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment) is when you can make a change to your Part D plan, change, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with or without a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

You MUST have already turned 65 or under 65 and enrolled in Medicare to enroll or change either a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan during Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment).

Since you are turning 65 in April and will be in your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period that is a 7-month period that begins 3 months prior to April, the month of April and 3 months after. January is 3 months prior to April, which is a good time to begin enrolling in Medicare and exploring which Medicare option best fits your specific medical and prescription drug needs.

Talk with your medical provider to discover what type of Medicare plan whether Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug plan or Original/Traditional Medicare with a Medicare Supplement and a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan is right for your health situation and the prescriptions you are taking.

As we say at the Toni Says® office, “Medicare is not a cookie cutter, one size or plan does not fit everyone.” The insurance companies market their specific Medicare plans and want you to believe that theirs is perfect for you.

Marketing by commercials on TV by Medicare Advantage plans (not disclosed on the TV commercial) that return money back on your Social Security check such as the $144 give-back are based on your income and not automatically approved. Remember, to talk with your healthcare professional when you are planning to make a major Medicare insurance change, or they may not be in your network.

Toni Says® Alert:  Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment) is for those who are already 65 or under 65 and enrolled in Medicare. You do not have to make a change during the AEP if you are pleased with your current plan such as Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement.

Concerned that your medical providers or facilities are not accepting the Medicare Advantage plan which you are considering? There are specific Medicare rules when changing from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement. Please be aware!

Call the Toni Says Medicare Hotline at 832-519-8664 to have your Medicare questions or concerns answered or email info@tonisays.com.

Register for November’s Toni Says® Medicare Annual Enrollment Zoom webinar on Wednesday, November 17 at 4 p.m. which explains the ABC and D of Medicare at www.tonisays.com.

Medicare Open Enrollment Special: $10 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the 2021Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.