Free Medicare Consultations Available During Medicare Open Enrollment Period

By Stephen J. Silverberg
New York Elder Law Attorney

With the start of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, people all over the country are getting their advice from two noted Medicare experts, Joe Namath—the famed Jets quarterback who also sold pantyhose and Noxzema—and J.J. Walker—you remember him from the sitcom “Good Times” and his catchphrase, “Dyn-O-Mite!”

Additionally,  a barrage of infomercials from actors pretending to be experts and paid product spokespeople and actors masquerading as participants have taken over your television. These “spokesmen” know about as much about Medicare as I know about deep-sea diving. I know a lot of things, but deep-sea diving isn’t one of them. But I know a lot about Medicare and how important it is to make the right decisions every year during Medicare Open Enrollment Season.

During the Medicare Open Enrollment period – October 15 – December 7, we offer free consultations about Medicare coverage to the community. You can call us at 516-307-1236 to set up a phone or video meeting or come into the office, whichever is more convenient for you.

We are not insurance brokers or agents. As attorneys, the law does not permit us to sell insurance or financial products or receive compensation from third parties. Our only purpose is to make sure you have the best coverage. We know a lot about Medicare, and we can help you understand your choices and make a more informed decision about the best plan for you and your spouse.

Frankly, the program has become more complicated, and the natural tendency is to stick with what you have. But that can be an expensive mistake.

There are many moving parts to Medicare. There are several “Parts,” the plans change, networks change, doctors’ participation in networks change. The drugs covered one year might not be covered another year.

The plan that worked so well in 2021 might be a disaster in 2022.

Even if you are happy with your plan, look at this year’s offerings and see if something might be better suited to you or your spouse. Two years ago, we found a prescription drug plan for a client that provided superior benefits to a plan costing three times as much.

Experts report that only one in ten review their plans annually. People get busy, especially as the holiday seasons are on the horizon. We know that Medicare plans are confusing and complicated. Who wouldn’t rather clean out the garage than review their Medicare plan? However, after December 15, 2021, you have to wait for the next open enrollment period, which begins October 15, 2022. The effective date of any change is January 1, 2023.

We consider this important enough we are offering our time and knowledge to seniors at no cost.

If you are on Medicare, you recently received a voluminous book, “Medicare and You,” from the Medicare Administration. It is next to impossible to read, and you can spend hours searching for answers. Stephen J. Silverberg prepared a concise guide to Medicare and the changes for 2022. The Guide explains how Medicare works, the associated premiums and co-pays, the comparison of benefits and shortcomings of traditional Medicare (Parts A, B, and D) and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage). He also discusses what Medicare covers, selecting the right Medicare Supplemental insurance and Part D (the prescription drug plan). Making the right choices will substantially lower your medical costs.

Here’s what we’d like you to do to review your Medicare coverage for 2022:

Find your plan. You should have received an “Annual Notice of Change” with information about changes and costs, including premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. If you don’t have Medicare coverage, you won’t receive this letter.

List your medical expenses from 2021, your doctors, and all your medications. If you use a pharmacy, they can provide you with your prescription history. You’ll need this information to make a good decision about the drug plan.

Find your MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) from two years ago. Your MAGI determines your premiums for Medicaid Part B. MAGI includes not only earned income. It includes Social Security, distributions from retirement funds, pension plans, 401(k)s, and capital gains. Your income from two years ago determines the premiums you’ll pay in 2022.

Call our office to schedule your free Medicare consultation at 516-307-1236. We are confident it will be time well spent. There’s no obligation—the information you learn could be critical.

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About the Author
Stephen J. Silverberg is nationally recognized as a leader in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and elder law. He is a past president of the prestigious National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a founding member and past president of the New York State chapter of NAELA.