Friday, October 3, 2014

Is Open Enrollment the same if I get my coverage from my Union or former employer?

I heard that I should review my Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment and I have until December 7 to make changes. Does that apply to me if I get my insurance through my former employer or a union?
Retirees who receive health insurance or a supplement from their former employer or union may not have the same open enrollment time-frame as people with Original Medicare or individually purchased Medicare Advantage or Prescription Part D Plans.Their "annual open enrollment" period is the time period established by their former employer or union. It is probably not the same as Medicare’s Open Enrollment period.

This is very confusing if their time-frame occurs within the Medicare Open Enrollment period. Many people have ignored an October mailing from their former employer or union, thinking they have until December 7 to act, only to find later that they needed to make changes much sooner.

I advise everyone with insurance from a former employer or union to open and read all mail regarding their insurance right away. Pay particular attention to the dates by which you need to respond. Don’t sign up for Medicare C, D or a Medicare Supplement without consulting your former employer or union insurance administrator. Signing up individually may end your retiree insurance and make it extremely difficult to get back if you make the wrong choice.

If however, you find that your employer or union provided plan no longer suits your needs, it may be time to look into other plans with better coverage. Call Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC to set up a Medicare health insurance review. We are conveniently located in Mentor at 6966 Spinach Drive. Call 440-255-5700 or email today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How can you expect your older friends or relative to figure out Medicare?

If you find yourself confused by 
Medicare and all the choices available to you . . .

. . . . imagine how much more confusing it can be for your older friends or relatives who may not have access to all the information you have at your fingertips.

If you have elderly family members or friends, PLEASE see if they need help reviewing their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Rx plans. 

If after talking to them about their coverage you both still have questions, call me. We’ll set up an appointment to do a Medicare review together.  We have until December 7 to make changes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Annual Notice of Change - Overlooking it can be costly!

What is it?
And Why is it important to me?

By the end of September or early October, everyone who has a Medicare Advantage plan or a Prescription Drug plan will receive information in the mail about their plan called the “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). This notice provides important information on changes you will see in your insurance coverage, cost and services for 2015. 

Please go over this information in detail. Don’t make a costly mistake and find out too late that your plan has made major changes that you will be locked into for the next year. 

Some key areas to review are:
Is your plan still available in your county? Some popular plans have been discontinued in counties for 2015.

Changes in benefits and cost: Do the changes affect the services you use? Has the amount of your co-pay changed? Have the premiums or out-of-pocket costs changed? 

Part D Prescription Drug Plan:  Are your prescription medications covered? Are they in a different tier? Can you continue to use the same pharmacies? Has the premium, deductible or tier costs changed?

Providers Network: Are your doctors still in the network? (You can confirm this with the online directory.)

You have the opportunity NOW during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period to switch to more suitable coverage. This year, open enrollment begins October 15 and continues through December 7 so you have plenty of time to shop and compare plans. 

This is where I can help you.

As an independent agent, I represent many of the most respected insurance companies in Ohio and I will help you find the most suitable plan for you based on your personal needs. Best of all, you never pay a dime for my services. The big difference is that with me as your agent, you have the advantage of having your own personal local insurance expert to call whenever questions arise. 

When it comes in the mail, please review your Annual Notice of Change carefully. If you have elderly family members or friends, please help them review their plans, too. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call me if you have questions and we’ll set up an appointment to do a Medicare review together.

Monday, September 22, 2014

1 out of 5 surveyed describe Medicare as confusing.

So, if Medicare has you stumped, you're not alone!

According to a 2013 survey of 1000 older adults, 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries could not correctly identify what Medicare Parts A, B, C and D covered. And, that's just the beginning when it comes to Medicare!

A health care crisis or hospital confinement is no time for you to begin trying to figure out how to make the most of your Medicare benefits. You owe it to yourself and your family to learn as much as you can NOW, so you have the coverage best suited for you before a need arises.

I invite you to invest two hours of your time learning the 'ins and outs' of Medicare at one of my upcoming classes called Getting Started with Medicare.  I will be presenting the class throughout the fall at locations in Lake, Geauga, Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties including:

09/23  Willoughby Library
09/24  Kenston 
09/25  Peninsula Library
09/29  Lorain County Community College
09/30  Chagrin Falls
10/01  Concord
10/02  Mentor Senior Center
10/06  Lakeland Community College
10/07  Hudson
10/08  Euclid Public Library

For more dates, times and registration information, please visit,  

This is your opportunity to begin learning about the options and services you have as a Medicare beneficiary.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What to do if you're not happy with Medicare or your Advantage Plan

Your chance to switch to a new plan is coming soon!

Medicare Open Enrollment begins on October 15 and is the time of year when you can make changes in your Medicare health plan or prescription drug coverage for the coming year. While many people are happy with their current coverage, it's always smart to check to see what changes will be made in your plan and take a look at other options that are available.

Start by looking for these four C's:

1.  Cost:  Will your out-of-pocket costs change? Will there be increases in your premiums, deductibles and co-payments in 2015?

2.  Coverage:  Does your plan cover all the medications you're taking? Are your preferred doctors, health care providers and hospitals covered by your plan?

3.  Convenience:  Do you need prior authorizations or referrals? Are you restricted to using specific pharmacies? Can you get your prescriptions through the mail if you wish?

4.  Customer Service:  Do you have someone who provides personal service when you run into problems? Is your plan responsive when you have a question?

If you find your plan falls short of your expectations, give me a call. We will set up a time to review your options and help you find the coverage that best suits your needs at an affordable price. I can be reached at 440-255-5700 or via email at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do you need help with utilities? health care costs? other basic needs?

There are more than 2,000 federal, state and private benefit programs to help people in need. Unfortunately, many people do not know where to look or who to trust to help them find the benefits they qualify for. 

The National Council on Aging offers a confidential, online program to help identify benefits that can save you money and help cover everyday expenses. It's called BenefitsCheckUp and it's available online at

BenefitsCheckUp asks a series of questions. After answering the questions, you will get a report created just for you that describes the programs you may get help from. 

Here are the types of expenses the program may be able to help with:

  • Medications
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Legal
  • Health care
  • Housing
  • In-home services
  • Taxes

About the NCOA

"The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Our goal is to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a trusted voice and innovative problem-solver helping seniors navigate the challenges of aging in America. We work with local and national partners to give older adults tools and information to stay healthy and secure, and we advocate for programs and policies to improve the lives of all seniors, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, please visit" 

- taken from NCOA website, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

When will Medicare send me my card?

If you’re sitting back, waiting for Medicare to send you your Medicare card because you turned 65, you’re in for a disappointment. Only a limited number of people will receive their Medicare card without taking action first. Specifically, those who are already receiving Social Security benefits will receive their card without applying.

But, if you want your Medicare card, you must take steps to enroll. Here are three ways to get the ball rolling:

1. A phone appointment. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and begin the enrollment process.

2. Go to your local Social Security office for an in-person session. To locate an office near you, visit Social Security Office Locator, SSA Office Locator Social Security Office Locator, Social Security and enter your zip code.

3. Online. Enroll online at Social Security promotes online enrollment as the easiest and quickest way to enroll.

Because 10,000 people turn 65 EVERY DAY, the Social Security offices are very busy places. It can take up to six weeks to get your Medicare card after you enroll.

To find out more about Medicare, please join me for Getting Started with Medicare, an informational session to help those turning 65 become familiar with Medicare and how it works. For more information on Getting Started with Medicare, please visit