By Ulla-Undine Merritt (Dee) National Producer Number (NPN) 8853366
Medicare Beneficiaries who currently have Medicare Advantage Plan and Part D (Prescription Drug Plans) will be receiving their “Notice of Change” documents in September. These notices compare any plan changes from your current 2016 to your new 2017 plan. You will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan if you do nothing and the new changes will take place January 1st 2017. OPEN ENROLLMENT for MEDICARE PLAN changes starts October 15th and runs through December 7th, 2016 for a January 1st, 2017 effective date. The last plan you select during this period will be your plan for 2017.
There is a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period that starts January 1st and ends February 14. (www.medicare.gov)
What can you do during this time?
• If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare.
• If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you’ll have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.
What can I “NOT” do?
• Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
• Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
• Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another.
• Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.
Medicare can be very confusing so I would recommend that you meet with a licensed insurance broker that represents multiple insurance carriers. You should explain to them your current needs and concerns. Before choosing a plan you need to check the network to make sure you can see your doctors and check your medications to make sure they are in the plans formulary. Having a local agent that specializes in Medicare Plans is important. If you have a question you should be able to reach the person who enrolled you in your plan. If you go online or call a toll free number chances are they are not local and you won’t be able to talk to them to clarify any questions.
Medicare enrollment is NOT the same as Social Security! There seems to be a lot of confusion between the two.
Social Security – you can apply online at www.ssa.gov for retirement benefits or benefits as a spouse if you:
• are at least 61 years and 9 months old;
• are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
• have not already applied for retirement benefits; and
• want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than 4 months in advance.)
Medicare – you can apply online at www.medicare.gov for Medicare benefits for yourself 3 months before your 65th birthday month. Example, June 20th birthday you can apply as early as March 1st. If your birthday is any day of the month except the 1st, your Medicare will be effective the 1st day of your birth month. For the June 20th birthday example above, your benefits would begin June 1st.
If your birthday is the 1st of the month then your benefits begin the month before, so a June 1st birthday your benefits would begin May 1st. VERY important: if you DO NOT take Medicare Part B & Part D when you are eligible, when you do take it there is a penalty for each month you did not have them. That penalty will last for the rest of your life or for as long as you take these services. If you have employer coverage (not cobra) this is a valid waiver. If you take these after you leave employment there is a special form your employer must fill out so that you are not charged a penalty.
Both Medicare and Social Security require you to be eligible by qualifying either through yourself or your spouse.
Most people that have worked in the United States of America receive Medicare Part A at no monthly cost to them. This is because they have worked at least 40 quarters (approx. 10 years); this is based on a minimal earnings calculator (see www.medicare.gov for more information).
Also remember when moving you may have a special enrollment period to apply or change your health insurance coverage. Also check your wills, trusts, and make sure they follow Florida’s laws and guidelines. Establish yourself with a local Insurance Broker, Attorney and CPA. An annual review is very important. Too many times people assume, don’t assume. Ask a professional, most of the time your first consultation is at no charge. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact:
Logical Insurance Solutions
To learn more about your options, contact: Logical Insurance Solutions – Dee Merritt www.Logicalinsurance.com 239-362-0855 Dee@Logicalinsurance.com