UNITED STATES─Toni: I am a confused Baby Boomer who needs to make my Medicare decision this October when I turn 65. I am current on an individual health plan that has a terrible high deductible.

I do not know where to start or what to do? Can you please simplify this ordeal?  Thanks Jennifer from Memphis, TN.

Jennifer: Do NOT feel alone because there is “one” Baby Boomer entering Medicare every 8 seconds every day for the next 15 years. Which calculates to about 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day! Most are completely stressed out because they know that one wrong move can jeopardize their 401K that they worked so hard for and is all they have left for their retirement days.

Below are a few facts explaining what every American should know regarding their Medicare:

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.

2)       Different Parts to Medicare…Parts A, B, C & D: Medicare Parts A and B 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 a Medicare Supplement with Original Medicare or bundled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

3)       What Medicare covers: 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.

4)       What Medicare does not cover:  Medical services not covered are vision, hearing or dental expenses as well as Long Term Care.

5)       No Network with Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A & B) and Medicare Supplement/Medigap: Your healthcare profession or facility bills Medicare not an insurance company.

6)       Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) May Be a Good Option:  Know that you can chose between Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) offered by private insurance companies which has an insurance network which you healthcare professionals or facilities should be a part of to receive network lower rates.

7)       Medicare is NOT free:  Medicare covers a lot and there is a cost associated with Medicare Parts A and B.  You have been paying tax dollars for Medicare and the premium for Part A is at no cost. Medicare Part B has a premium which is means tested depending on how much you have earned for that year. Each year, the Medicare Part A and B costs. deductibles and premiums change.

8)       When one visits, the Toni Says office for a Medicare consultation, we tell them to forget everything they know about their old health insurance plans because Medicare is totally different!

Toni Says Confused about Medicare Online Zoom Webinar:  Wednesday, August 19 at 4 p.m. Online webinar reservations are limited and enrolling link is available at www.tonisays.com.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the  Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book and bundle packages for the Toni Says® newspaper article readers at www.tonisays.com.