UNITED STATES—Toni, I turn 65 next March, and I’m overwhelmed by all of the mail I am getting this year for Medicare Annual Enrollment. What do I do? All the mail from all the companies say theirs is the best, but they all offer the same thing. If I don’t do something at the right time everybody says I’ll 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, Hoover, Alabama.

Matt…you must do NOTHING!!! NADA!!!

You have no idea how often we are asked this question during a Toni Says Medicare appointment. America is absolutely horrified about making a Medicare mistake and receiving a penalty that can last a lifetime. The answer to your question is NO…you do not have to do a thing during this year’s Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment) because you are not 65 yet; therefore, you have not enrolled in Medicare yet.

Now next year, Medicare’s 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.

You MUST have already turned 65 before Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment) to affect you during this time period.

Since you are turning 65 in March, then 90 days prior beginning January, is a good time to find out which Medicare option is the right choice for your specific Medicare needs. As we say in the Toni Says® office, “Medicare is not a cookie cutter, one size or plan does not fit everyone.” Although the insurance companies’ marketing their specific Medicare plans to want you to believe that. Your health and prescriptions needs are not the same as your friends and so you cannot compare your Medicare to theirs.

Toni Says® Alert: Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (aka Open Enrollment) is for those who are already 65 and enrolled in a Medicare Plan. You do not have to make a change during that time if you enroll in Medicare for the first time that year or are happy with your current plan.

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. Call the Toni Says Medicare Hotline at 1-844-250-8664 to have your Medicare questions or concerns answered or email info@tonisays.com.

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

Reader Alert: Effective October 1, the new Medicare.gov Medicare plan finder was released. Navigating this site is not easy. Please take your time when searching a new Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan…Toni