Medicare 101, taking notes in class, a notebook, pen and glasses on a desk

Approaching 65? Here’s your Medicare 101 crash course

What if you had to make a healthcare decision that could affect the rest of your life?

That’s not a hypothetical question if you’re 65 and about to go on Medicare. Every day another 10,000 Americans turn 65 and need to make critical decisions regarding how they structure their healthcare going forward.

But Medicare comes with complicated rules that can be confusing and can lead to problems if ignored or misunderstood. It’s important that you make informed choices.

Read on as I take you through a simplified Medicare 101.

A doctor's office for elderly people on Medicare.

I have Medicare drug insurance. Why did I get this $2,055 bill?!

After Michael Foxhoven learned that Medicare covers shingles and Tdap vaccinations, he made appointments for both himself and his wife at their doctor’s office. Since they were due for a Covid booster, they figured they could also get that out of the way in the same visit.

But a few months after that appointment, Foxhoven got the sticker shock of his life. That’s when he received a $2,055 bill for the vaccinations that he thought Medicare would cover.

So why didn’t it?

The answer will probably surprise you.

Medicare prescription drug plan coverage, pills at the pharmacy.

How to save money on your Medicare prescription drug plan

If I could show you how to save money on your Medicare prescription drug plan, would you be interested?

You have an opportunity to possibly do so during Medicare’s annual election period – better known as open enrollment. 

Regardless of which name you use, this is the period between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 when Medicare beneficiaries can elect to change prescription drug plans, change Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, switch from original Medicare to Part C, and vice versa. Changes you make are effective Jan. 1.

Last week, I wrote about why and how to be a careful shopper when you’re looking at Medicare Advantage plans. I used an enticing offer I received as an example. Today, I’ll do the same about your prescription drug coverage.

Elderly couple on a bench to illustrate an article about shopping for a new Medicare plan.

Unhappy with your Medicare plan? Go shopping for a new one now

If you’re unhappy with your current Medicare plan, you’re in luck. It’s that time of year — Medicare shopping season.

For insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, now through Dec. 7 is sort of like the holiday season for retailers, with lots of advertising, promoting products and deals.

Read on to learn why Medicare beneficiaries should shop around but not necessarily buy a new plan. I’ll also explain how to avoid making bad decisions that could affect your health care — and your wallet.

A map of the world to illustrate an article about global Medicare coverage.

Will Medicare cover you on an international trip? (Don’t bet on it)

If you have Medicare as your primary insurance and get hit with a health-related emergency while traveling in another country or on a cruise ship, will your treatment be covered? That’s the question many of our readers are asking.  That’s the question many of our readers are asking. 

Read on to understand what your Medicare coverage will and won’t do if you face a medical problem during an international trip. And, of course, I’ll also tell you how to make sure you are protected.