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November 2017

It’s That Time Again – Medicare Open Enrollment: What’s New for 2018?

Dollar Sense


Here it comes again. Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15 and runs through December 7. If you need to make certain changes to your Medicare plan, now’s the time. But go slowly, advises Medicare, and consider your current and foreseeable needs carefully. You may find you’re perfectly happy with your plan as it is. But here are some aspects of your coverage to think through.

  • If you have original Medicare and a supplemental plan and are happy with your coverage, you don’t need to change.
  • f you’re not happy with your coverage, shop around for the plan that meets your needs.
  • If you have Medicare Advantage or Part D, you should know the costs change yearly so review your coverage yearly.
  • Be sure to read your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) for cost changes. You should have received this notice by September 30. If you haven’t received your ANOC or can’t find it, contact your Medicare plan, using the phone number on the back of your plan membership card.
  • If you decide to change your coverage, don’t call the plan. Instead, call 800-MEDICARE. When you speak with a representative, take notes on what you are told, the date, and the name of the person you spoke with.

You may also have to pay higher premiums if you didn’t enroll in Part B or D when you first became eligible, due to premium penalties for late enrollment.


What Changes Are Expected for Medicare in 2018?

  • New cards. For one thing, you should be receiving a new, safer benefits card. Next April, Medicare beneficiaries will begin receiving new Medicare cards, with new numbers. Why? Because current cards display your Social Security number, an obvious risk. Senior advocacy groups have been fighting for this change for a long time, and the federal government finally listened. In September 2017, Social Security announced that in an effort to increase your security, the first new cards will be mailed beginning in April 2018. The process of replacing all cards is long and could take up to a year, so be patient.


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Happy Big Night Day

Ernie's World


As anyone who has been read about us over the years can attest, as a family, we don’t always take the traditional route for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. So when Patrick suggested we have a “Big Night” Thanksgiving, the rest of the family was enthusiastic.


“Italian food for Thanksgiving?”


“No mashed potatoes?”


“Are you kidding me?”


Actually, those comments were mine. But I came around when I figured we would at least be having a traditional dessert.”




“No pumpkin pie?”


“What’re you thinking?”


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