Do you Really Need Medicare Part D?
You may be questioning whether you really need to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans such as HMO’s and PPO’s include Part D drug coverage.
But if you choose to have Original Medicare and add a Medicare Supplement policy such as Plan G or Plan N, then Part D prescription coverage isn’t included in that. So you have to buy a separate Part D drug plan. If you don’t take any medications then It may seem like a waste of money to pay extra for that.
Who Needs A Part D Drug Plan
Actually, Medicare Part D is optional for everyone that has Medicare. It’s your choice whether or not you want to enroll in a Part D drug plan. If you have other creditable drug coverage in place such as Employer group, V.A., or Tricare, then you won’t be penalized for not signing up for Medicare Part D.
But if you don’t have other creditable drug coverage, then Medicare recommends that you enroll in a Part D drug plan when you’re first eligible.
Why You Should Enroll In A Drug plan
There are a couple of reasons why you should enroll in a Part D drug plan.
The first reason is:
There’s a penalty, unless you qualify for the Extra Help assistance program. The penalty is 1% for every month you did not enroll in a drug plan from the time you were first eligible. This 1% is based on the National Base premium of a Part D plan in the current year. Let’s just say that it’s 1% of $33 which equals 33 cents.
Well that doesn’t seem like a lot but then you have to add the amount of months you went without a Part D drug plan. So if it was 2 years that’s 24 months times 33 cents and it comes out to $7.92 added to your drug plan cost every month. And it’s a penalty that you pay as long as you have Medicare drug coverage.
The second reason you want to enroll in Part D is:
If all of a sudden you have to start taking medications. The medications may be unaffordable, or you could have to pay a high retail price for them that would have been significantly lower if you had a Part D drug plan.
You can’t just enroll in a Part D drug plan whenever you want to. There are certain enrollment periods to do that. You may have to wait many months get coverage. And then once you’re able to enroll in the Part D plan you’ll also have a penalty added to your monthly premium.
The Part D drug plans today are fairly low cost and start around 15 dollars a month. This depends on the medications you take. So it makes sense to enroll in Part D when you’re first eligible for it and avoid life- long penalties.
Who Can Avoid A Part D Drug Plan Penalty
Medicare will waive the late enrollment penalty for some people. This includes those who are eligible for state Medicaid assistance or those approved for the Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy program. They will also qualify for reduced costs with the Part D drug plan. Check out our video about the Extra Help program that goes into more detail.
If you need help finding the lowest cost Drug plan in your area then give us a call at (800) 783-5901. We are happy to help you.