Seniors jogging while discussing Medicare Advantage and original medicare.

Medicare Advantage vs. Original Medicare

After you have enrolled in Original Medicare, which consists of two parts – Part A and Part B – you’ll need to decide if you want to continue your coverage under Original Medicare or if you want to extend your healthcare benefits by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan. How are the two plans different? Which one offers more benefits and overall coverage? How much does each of them cost? How do I know which one is right for me? We’ll [...]

Happy senior knowing he has reached the age of full retirement.

What is “Full Retirement Age”?

There can be quite a bit of confusion about the age at which you are eligible to retire. That confusion stems from differences on when you can collect your pension, Social Security, or be eligible to enroll in Medicare. No one can tell you when to retire, but there are some guidelines around what age you must be in order to collect your “full retirement benefits.” How Retirement Benefits Work You paid social security taxes your entire working life. The money you [...]

Senior man in the Fall on cycle for his annual ride in countryside.

Part C and D Annual Notice of Change

Fall has arrived, and with it, the upcoming Annual Enrollment Period. This can be a time of chaos and confusion in the Medicare world, and we want to do our best to ensure you are prepared for it. In this article, we’re going to discuss the Annual Notice of Change, or ANOC, that your current insurance carrier must send out every year by the end of September. We’ll talk about what it is, why it’s important, and what you should [...]

Senior Couple dancing together knowing that they avoided the Part D Late Enrollment Penalty

What’s the Part D late enrollment penalty?

The late enrollment penalty is an amount that’s added to your Part D premium if, at any time after your Part D Initial Enrollment Period is over, there’s a period of 63 or more days in a row when you don’t have Part D or other creditable prescription drug coverage. Note: If you get Extra Help, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty. How much is the late enrollment penalty? Currently, the penalty amount is calculated by multiplying the 1% penalty rate times the “national [...]

Doctor discussing how to avoid paying a penalty with your Medicare Drug Plan.

How do I avoid paying a penalty?

Join a Medicare drug plan when you’re first eligible or have other creditable prescription drug coverage at that time to avoid paying the penalty. Don’t go 63 days or more in a row without a Medicare drug plan or other creditable prescription drug coverage. Creditable prescription drug coverage could include drug coverage from a former employer or union, TRICARE, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), or the Indian Health Service. Your plan must tell you each year if your drug coverage is creditable to avoid paying [...]

Senior couple now eligible for Medicare.

When can I join, switch, or drop a drug plan?

During your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, when you first become eligible for Medicare. You can join a Medicare drug plan during the 7-month period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65 and ends three months after you turn 65. If you join during 1 of the three months before you turn 65, your coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65. If you join the month you turn 65 or 1 of the three [...]