Do I Need Medicare Part D If I Don’t Take Any Prescriptions?
If you have no maintenance prescriptions, you may assume you don’t need to sign up for Medicare Part D, or prescription drug insurance.
But what are the rules about declining Part D coverage? And even if you aren’t required to sign up for a Part D plan, is it smart to get one anyway?
Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.
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Do I have to sign up for Medicare Part D?
You aren’t required to sign up for Medicare Part D. However, if you choose to decline Part D coverage, you will start accruing a lifetime penalty that’ll kick in if you ever sign up for a Part D plan in the future.
The Part D penalty is an admittedly confusing calculation based on 1% of the national base beneficiary premium.
We recommend using the Part D penalty calculator on the Amplicare website. As an example, if I were born in July 1950 and never signed up for Part D, I would be penalized for 77 months without coverage. That would equal $25.20 per month – and that’s the penalty I must pay on top of my plan’s regular monthly premium.
How can I avoid the Medicare Part D penalty?
There are two ways to avoid the Medicare Part D penalty:
- Sign up for a Part D drug plan when you’re first eligible
- Have credible drug coverage from another source (such as an employer group plan)
If you don’t have other credible drug coverage and you’re eligible for Medicare Part D, you’ll need to enroll in a Part D plan to avoid the penalty.
Is the Part D penalty for life?
Yes, the Part D penalty is for life. If you accrue a penalty of $10 per month, you’ll have to pay that each month you have a Part D plan.
Do I need Medicare Part D if I don't take any drugs?
Say you understand the penalty, but you’re still not sure if you need a Part D plan. Maybe it makes sense to take the penalty if don’t take any prescriptions and have no need for drug coverage in the first place.
The good news is there are Part D plans in Macon County with premiums as low as $6.90 per month (in 2022). Even if you take no maintenance medications, you still have coverage and avoid the penalty for the cost of a fancy Starbucks coffee.
If you are prescribed an expensive medication during the year, you’ll be so glad to have Part D insurance!
Can I add Part D to my Medicare at any time?
You cannot add Part D to your Medicare plan at any time. There are enrollment periods you must adhere to. If you don’t sign up for a Part D plan when you’re first eligible – at age 65 for most people – you’ll have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period.
The Annual Enrollment Period lasts from October 15-December 7 every year. During this time, you can sign up for a Part D plan.
There may be other times during the year, called Special Enrollment Periods, in which you can enroll in Part D. Please reach out to our team of licensed insurance agents for personalized help.
In sum, you don’t have to sign up for a Part D plan, but with premiums as low as $6.90 per month, we recommend it! You’ll avoid the lifetime Part D penalty and have drug coverage if you do get a prescription throughout the year.
For more information about Part D, check out these articles:
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