UNITED STATES—Toni: I just received a phone call saying there is a federal law that I change my Medicare during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment?  The Toni Says® office helped us with our Medicare decision in April when my husband retired from his job of 30+ years. Now it seems we must do our Medicare decision all over again from this phone call that I received today.

Could you explain what we need to do?  This is our first Medicare Annual Enrollment experience and do not want to make the wrong move. With all the mail and telemarketing calls my wife and I are simply overwhelmed!   Thanks, George from Dallas, TX.

George: There is always a bit of confusion around Medicare Annual Enrollment season, but this year there is more stress and worry with Medicare’s Supplement Plan C & F changes.

There is NOT a federal law that says you must make a change to your Medicare during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment. You do not have to change your Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if you do not want to make any changes.

This is the time when, if you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or change your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan that you can from October 15 to December 7.

The new Medicare plan whether Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan will become effective January 1.

Below are Toni Says® Medicare Tips to help simplify Medicare’s Annual Enrollment and understand what your options can be:

  • Toni Says® Medicare Tip #1: Decide if you want Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan.
  1. a) Talk to your doctor’s office or medical facility and see which plan is recommended. Some doctors are accepting “Original Medicare” and not Medicare Advantage plans. Be sure you call to verify that the office or medical facility is accepting that specific Medicare Advantage plan.
  2. b) The main difference between “Original Medicare” and Medicare Advantage plans is “Original Medicare” works only with Medicare and generally, you or your Medicare supplemental plan pays the deductibles or coinsurances.
  3. c) A Medicare Advantage plan is also called Part C and is administered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. You must use that insurance company’s card not your Medicare card.
  • Toni Says® Medicare Tip #2: Not all Medicare Advantage Plans are the same. Plans and benefits differ from company to company and even state to state.  Do your research especially if you will be moving to a new state or a new zip code within your current state.
  • Toni Says® Medicare Tip #3: Compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans every Medicare Annual Enrollment. Plans can change benefits and the drug formulary for the next year and try to stay out of that year’s donut hole.

*Medicare releases 2021 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans on the www.medicare.gov website on October 1st for a January 1st effective date**         

Concerned about what Medicare Annual Enrollment options are available for you? Call the Toni Says Medicare Hot Line at 832/519-8664 to have your Medicare questions or concerns answered or email info@tonisays.com.

Coming in October Confused about Medicare Zoom Webinar discussing Medicare’s Annual Enrollment and what your Medicare options for fall’s Medicare Annual Enrollment can be.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the  Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question? Email Toni at info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.