Not Too Early To Get a Flu Shot

Early October is not too soon to get your flu shot. Now would be a good time to plan for it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu season can start as early as the beginning of October.

Did you know: There’s a special high-dose flu vaccine for seniors age 65 and older? The reason is that the regular dose doesn’t always protect us because our immune system often is weakened. This vaccine is four times as strong, setting up a better immune response.

Did you know: That Medicare will pay for the vaccine? (As will most insurance under the Affordable Care Act.)

Did you know: You don’t have to go to your doctor to get the flu shot. There are numerous other locations. To find a flu shot in your area, begin scouting the Internet at sites like cvs.com or flushot.healthmap.org, or call your local pharmacy.

Medicare Open Enrollment

Open enrollment for Medicare begins Oct. 15 to change from the Original to an Advantage Plan, or vice versa. Don’t confuse this with the Health Insurance Marketplace, which opens enrollment a month later. As a Medicare beneficiary, it’s illegal for a Marketplace company to sell you a Marketplace plan, so don’t be taken in.

But there is a caveat: If you have a Marketplace plan and think you’ll sign up for Medicare later, beware that you might be subject to a lifelong penalty if you enroll late.

Because of the variety of situations (Marketplace versus Medicare, Part A versus Parts A and B), your best bet is to get advice from Medicare before the signup period begins if you’re now moving from Marketplace to Medicare. Call them at 1-800-MEDICARE  (1-800/633.4227).

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.