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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period

So whether it’s your first time going through it or you’re a seasoned veteran, you won’t have to wonder whether or not it’s started.  There’s always:

  • A never ending barrage of commercials.
  • Full-page newspaper ads.
  • Hour-long infomercials throughout the day.

You won’t be able to watch the news, go online, open the newspaper, or check Facebook without a not-so-gentle reminder:

Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period is upon us.

For the rest of this post, I’ll refer to this time as “AEP”.  That’s what it’s lovingly called in the insurance community.  I say ‘lovingly’ with a little bit of a smirk as I write this since as an insurance agent, this is a 10 week sprint.

Now I know how an accountant feels in the weeks leading up to tax day on April 15th.

Many of you have questions about your plan.  You wonder if it’s the best one for you for next year.  Maybe you want to switch your plan.  Or, you simply aren’t sure what you’re supposed to do during this time.

Every year when I talk to my clients or help new clients, they always tell me things they’ve heard about Medicare or their plans that aren’t true.  There’s a lot of misinformation out there.  Some insurance agents and companies will use this time to take advantage of your uncertainty.

This guide will give you a complete roadmap on everything you should know about AEP.  What you can do, should do or shouldn’t do.  Let’s start with defining exactly what AEP is...

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Is Plan F Going Away?

Well, yes and no…

Like any important question, there’s a bit more to it than just a one-word answer.

Now lots of salespeople and telemarketers are trained to use scare tactics to get you to leave Plan F and sign up with the plan they’re offering.  Their plan might even be better than Plan F, but they’re being dishonest in what they’re telling you.

In this article, I’ll give you a the whole picture of exactly what’s happening with Plan F, what your options are, and how to decide whether to keep Plan F or switch to a different plan that could fit your situation better.

So is it going away?...

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Medicare mistakes

7 Reasons You’re Going to Make the Wrong Medicare Decision at 65

Medicare is confusing. There’s no doubt about it.

The more confusing something is, the more likely it is that you’re going to miss something. Or ignore something. Or not understand something. Or make the wrong decision.

Some bad Medicare decisions will cost you either a little, or often a lot, of extra money wasted on monthly premiums or out of pocket expenses. A few bad decisions can get you trapped in a plan later on that doesn’t fit your healthcare needs because you’re not healthy enough to qualify for a different one.

No one has a crystal ball. No one knows what tomorrow may bring, or how your health insurance needs might change. So it’s best to make the best decision you can about Medicare when you turn 65.

Here are 7 reasons you’re going to make the wrong decision about Medicare when you turn 65…

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Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage

Medigap or Medicare Advantage? – Which Plan is Right For You?

That is the question that has most of you stumped.

If you’ve figured out you need one of these types of Medicare plans, then you’ve already ruled out other options like:

  • ​Coverage through your current employer
  • Medicaid
  • Veteran's Benefits like Tricare or coverage thru the VA
  • Retiree coverage through your former employer

So, now you know you need Medicare and to get your own supplemental insurance, but which one? (you can only get one, not both)

Well, let’s take an in-depth look at the main differences between each of these types of coverage to see what’s going to fit your needs the best.

But let’s start with the basics of each type…

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Medigap open enrollment window

Medigap Open Enrollment Period – You Only Get ONE!

If you have only ONE chance to do a certain thing in your life, wouldn’t it be nice to at least know about it?

You have lots of opportunities to apply for a Medigap policy when you’re on Medicare, but you only have one Medigap Open Enrollment period. And for some of you, this will be the only time you’re eligible for a Medigap plan.

Let’s understand a little better when this enrollment window is, why it’s different than other Medicare enrollment periods, and what’s so special about it…

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Medicare penalties

Medicare Penalties – Fact or Fiction?

Medicare penalties can be expensive.

Most Medicare penalties last the rest of your life.

I know you’ve probably heard a lot of bits of advice about what to do so you don’t get hit with a Medicare penalty. Maybe your sister gave you a heads up. Your golfing buddies could have warned you what not to do.

But, like most things I hear from my clients and other folks I talk to about Medicare, there are a lot of half-truths and misconceptions that people have heard. Sometimes you’ve been told something that’s flat out wrong.

So, let’s clear the air here, and figure out what you really can (and can’t) be penalized for on Medicare. And, we’ll look at what you can do to avoid those penalties. Let’s look at each part of Medicare one at a time…

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Medicare's Free Preventive Services

Medicare’s Free Services – A Comprehensive Guide of What’s Covered at No Charge

You like FREE stuff, right?

I know, who doesn’t? That’s another great thing about Medicare is they provide lots of stuff for FREE!

From doctors’ visits, to preventive shots, to health screenings and counseling for specific health issues, Medicare has lots of resources to help you stay healthy and manage whatever health issues you’re treating.

And, they’re all available to you at no charge!

Let’s take a look at this comprehensive list, starting with your first step, the “Welcome to Medicare” visit…

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Signing up for Medicare after 65

Retiring After 65? Here’s How to Transition to Medicare

I know, you’re planning on working forever, right?

Either you like your job and don’t want to retire any time soon. Or, you need something to keep yourself busy, since you think you’d have nothing to do in retirement and get bored senseless within a month. Maybe you feel like you can’t afford to retire financially.

Whatever your reason for working past 65, eventually you’ll get to a point where you do need to retire. It may be because you can’t take the office politics anymore. Or maybe you need to stay home and take care of a loved one whose health is failing.

When you get to that point, you’ll need to get signed up for Medicare and figure out what you need to do about secondary insurance. This article is to help prepare for that transition to be as smooth as possible.

So whenever you do leave your (or your spouse’s) employer’s group health plan…

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Premium, deductible, copay, coinsurance

So What’s the Difference Between a Premium, Deductible, Copay, Coinsurance, and Max Out-of-Pocket Amount?

You probably don’t understand insurance, right?

I don’t blame you, insurance can be pretty boring and confusing stuff. Especially health insurance.

​Who’s going to sit there and go over your monthly health insurance statement and try to figure it out? There are so many numbers to try and understand and keep track of. And what’s the difference between a copay and co-insurance? Why is the deductible different than the max-out-of-pocket?

Well it’s hard to be comfortable with Medicare or your secondary insurance coverage if you don’t understand it at all.

Let’s take a look at some basic insurance terms and how they apply to Medicare and Medicare plans, so you can get a better grasp on how your plan works...

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Medicare premium bill

Why is Your Medicare Premium Different Than Others?

You get a bill in the mail. It’s MUCH larger than you expected.

You think, “why am I getting billed so much for Medicare?!?"

You’re getting Medicare for the first time, so naturally you’ve been asking some of your friends, siblings, cousins, etc. what to expect. Most of them tell you they pay a little over $100 per month for Medicare and it gets taken right out of their Social Security check.

Well, you’re not drawing Social Security income yet, so you’ve been waiting for a bill in the mail. It comes and it’s for almost over $800!

There are a few things going on here why your bill is so much. Let’s look at them one at a time…

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