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Confused about Medicare Open Enrollment…You’re Not Alone!!

6 Weeks to October 15th… Medicare Open/Annual Enrollment 

Dear Toni,

This is my first Medicare open/annual enrollment and I don’t know anything about this process? I have been receiving tons of marketing material which has confused me.   Which program is a good choice between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage and which one is not? I do have some health problems and am concerned I am making the correct choice.

My friends have said if I make the wrong choice I could lose my Medicare.  I have a Masters degree and this is totally stressing me out. If you can show me direction, I would really appreciate it. Thanks Fred from Tulsa Ok

Dear Fred:

I am asked this question at least 20 times a week and what we tell our clients during a Toni Says® Medicare consultation when they are trying to decide which option is best for their Medicare during Medicare’s Open/Annual Enrollment period. This period is from October 15 thru December 7thevery year.

When it comes to a Medicare plan, there is not a one size fits all option or a best plan.  Take your time and search your options. You may be someone who only goes to the doctor once a year or you might be someone who has a long history of health issues.

  • Talk to your doctor and see which type of plan he/she recommends either Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Discover which Medicare Part D plan fits your needs whether it is a standalone plan with a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D included

Many are concerned about what happens if they make the wrong choice by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan and need to disenroll to return to Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement.  There are health issues which can keep one from qualifying due to health questions in a Medicare Supplement’s application?

Don’t worry; there are protections in place for this type of situation. A Medicare rule from the Medicare & You Handbook says: “If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time, and you aren’t happy with the plan, you’ll have special rights to buy a Medigap policy if you return to Original Medicare within 12 months of joining.”

Below are 6 ways that a Medicare beneficiary can make a change to their Medicare plans during Medicare Annual/Open Enrollment:

  • Purchase a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Change from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to a new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with Prescription Drugs.
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a new Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Return to Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Return to Original Medicare and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Concerned that your medical providers/facilities are not accepting the Medicare Advantage plan you are considering or is applying for a Medicare Supplement your right option? Maybe you are concerned about the “famous” Part D prescription drug “donut hole”. Call the Toni Says® office at 832/519-8664 to have your Medicare questions or concerns answered or email Visit and attend ABBS (American Baby Boomer Society) Medicare courses.

Toni King

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced offers a Toni Says® Medicare column readers discount available at


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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

1 Comment

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  • Yes you are not alone, aside from the open enrollment period I would like to add, not to also surprise people who think Medicare is free, that if you want to get a Medicare supplement policy (Medigap), there is also a premium that you need to pay on top of the Medicare part B premium and other premiums that you are paying. Also, Medigap can’t be used to pay for your premiums for other plans. On the other hand, Medigap alone is priced differently according to different factors, which might also add up to your confusion. Premiums that you will pay should be clear as you decide which Medicare options you will get. To help you with understanding the costs you can head on to and for additional resources and information.

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