Is Part D Mandatory?

Why should I sign up for Part D?Man With Question Mark Blocking Face

It seems like I’m getting more questions regarding Part D, specifically if it is mandatory. Apparently there is a segment of the Medicare population that doesn’t require prescription drugs or who haven’t bought into the need for drugs.

If you are one of these people you may be wondering if it’s in your best interest to sign up or if you could save some money by not enrolling in a Part D plan.

There are times when signing up definitely doesn’t make sense.

For instance, if you have creditable drug coverage from your or your spouses employer or former employer, you may want to keep that coverage.

Often times if you have retiree health insurance as a benefit, the Part D is included and can not be dropped without canceling the entire plan. In this case you should not enroll in a Part D plan.

Receiving your benefits from the V.A. may be another time when not enrolling could make sense. Although I’m aware of many veterans who enrolled in Part D because it gave them a wide choice of medications. Also enrolling in this circumstance does not negate the V.A. benefits.

But unless you have some prior coverage it may be in your best interest to sign up.

Why you should sign up

The two big reasons to sign up are:

  • Protect yourself against loss in the form of future expenses
  • To avoid the Part D penalty

You may not require drugs now but what if you do in the future and don’t have Part D coverage?

Even if you are against prescription usage and rely on supplements and natural alternatives there may come a time when you have an acute illness requiring thousands of dollars of prescription drugs.

If you do not enroll in Part D when you are first eligible and not covered by creditable coverage you may be subject to the Part D late enrollment Penalty.

The penalty is calculated by multiplying 1% of the national base beneficiary premium times the number of full uncovered months. This amount will be added to your Part D premium should you decide to enroll in the future and will continue for as long as you are enrolled in a Part D plan.

So, even though Part D is not mandatory, if you do not have creditable coverage, it is clearly in your interest to choose a plan.

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