by Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
PORT ORANGE - Planning for retirement can be confusing, but Atlantic Retirement Solutions aims to make it simple.
The small business on South Ridgewood Avenue has helped many people with their retirement planning needs since opening in 2010. Its founder and president, Maria Kosztolanyi, has 16 years of experience in retirement planning.
While Medicare planning and Medicare education is the business's primary focus, her staff offers a variety of services, including retirement planning, estate planning, wealth management and long-term care.
"It is exactly what it says, retirement solutions," Ms. Kosztolanyi said. "Anything having to do with anyone who is retired or is going to retire."
She admits she counts herself among people close to retirement. She's 64 years old.
Ms. Kosztolanyi focuses on Medicare this time of year because the open enrollment period for Medicare is in progress. The open enrollment period, which varies by the year, continues to Dec. 7.
She explained the open enrollment period is the only time of year an individual can change from one provider to another. Individuals who recently turned 65, lost insurance coverage or moved into the area can register outside of the open enrollment period, she said.
The resources Ms. Kosztolanyi offers try to simplify the complex details of Medicare options. She and her staff educate people on the different types of plans available through a class called Medicare 101, offered Tuesdays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 10 a.m.
A chart she provided breaks down the different types of Medicare Plans, which include Part A, B, C and D coverage.
Parts A and B, or "original" Medicare, are provided by the government and government subcontractors, with Medicare paying fees directly to the doctors and hospitals a person visits. Part A helps with hospital costs, while Part B helps with doctor and outpatient care.
Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is provided by Medicare-approved private insurance companies and combines hospital costs, doctor and outpatient visits in one plan. Under Medicare Advantage, Medicare pays a fixed fee to the plan for the person's care, then the plan pays the doctors and hospitals.
Part D covers prescription drugs. This type of coverage is available in more than 30 different Medicare plans offered, Ms. Kosztolanyi said.
Michael Allsup, a benefits advisor who manages the business's Medicare division - also known as Medicare 101 - guides clients through the numerous Medicare plans offered, as well as the state resources they could take advantage of.
"A lot of times people get overwhelmed by all the options," Mr. Allsup said. "We try to educate them on the options they have. It's the right plan for the right person."
Mr. Allsup said 10,000 baby boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964 - turn 65 each day. The first baby boomers to reach retirement age did so just last year, with the last group turning 65 in 2029.
Atlantic Retirement Solutions is the only company in the area Ms. Kosztolanyi is aware of that specializes in unbiased Medicare education. Most Medicare classes offered are "companies pushing products," she said.
"At our classes we don't offer products or anything. (A person) can schedule an appointment at a later time for a free consultation," she said. Atlantic Retirement Solutions offers no gimmicks, such as free gifts, to lure people in the door because her business is about "just honest information" to manage the lives of people who are retired or planning to retire.
Ms. Kosztolanyi said Atlantic Retirement Solutions is not just focused on the open enrollment period for Medicare; her business is aimed at helping seniors with all their retirement needs.
"It's just a good service for anyone in retirement or thinking about retirement," she said.
"And we're always available for your concerns," Mr. Allsup added.
Atlantic Retirement Solutions is at 5111 S. Ridgewood Ave., Suite 200, Port Orange. For more information, call (386) 258-5959 or visit www.medicare101.net.