Do I need a drug plan when I get Medicare even if I don’t take an prescriptions?
The answer is yes. If you don’t take a prescription plan when you take Medicare, you will incur a penalty if you ever have to take a drug plan.
I have seen too often individuals not take a plan when they are 65 and first getting Medicare, and then when they hit 70, they need a prescription plan that covers their medications. It is at this point they realize that they now will have to pay a penalty, and it is a lifetime penalty.
Below is an excerpt from Medicare.gov about the penalty:
Part D Late Enrollment Penalty
The late enrollment penalty is an amount that can be added to your Medicare drug coverage (Part D) premium. You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty if at any time after your Initial Enrollment Period is over, there’s a period of 63 or more days in a row when you don’t have Medicare drug coverage or other creditable prescription drug coverage You’ll generally have to pay the penalty for as long as you have Medicare.
How much is the Part D penalty?
The cost of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you went without Part D or creditable prescription drug coverage.
Medicare calculates the penalty by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($32.74 in 2023) ($34.70 in 2024) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium.
To put it in layman terms, every year you don’t have a drug plan, the penalty is $4 a month for the rest of your life. That may not sound like a lot, but trust me it will add up!
Please call if you have any questions. Stay safe out there!
Cornerstone Senior Services