I am often asked the following question “Charlie, I don’t think I need a Medicare Part D drug plan. I don’t take any medications. Can’t I just add that later if I ever need it?”
Regardless of whether you take several expensive medications or take no medications at all, almost everyone on Medicare needs to enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan.
There are three primary reasons you need a Medicare Part D drug plan even if you take no medications:
- You can only enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan to take effect when you first go on Medicare or on the first day of a calendar year. If you do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan and are prescribed an expensive medication during the year, you will have to pay the full cost of the medication until the beginning of the next year. This could be $400-$500 per month or more.
- During the last few years, a large percentage of cancer treatments have become Part D medications in the form of a pill you take at home instead of an IV that is administered in a medical facility. The cost for this type of chemotherapy is usually $10,000 per month or more. If you do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan you may have to pay the full cost up front not be able to take these drugs when you need them.
- If you do not enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan when you are first eligible and have no other credible drug coverage, you will pay a higher premium the rest of you life if you enroll in a drug plan later.
Most states have 20-25 Medicare Part D drug plans. These plans can differ in the following five ways:
- What monthly premium you will pay
- Whether you will pay a deductible and how much the deductible is
- Whether the deductible applies to your medications
- Whether the plan covers all of your medications
- How much the plan requires you to pay for your medications
Medicare provides a Planfinder website where you can enter your medications and the website will tell you which Medicare Part D drug plan will provide your medications at the lowest overall cost for the year.
You can click the following link to access this website
Please be sure to note and keep the Drug List ID and password that is created. You should print out and keep a copy of your results. This will tell you your costs by drug by month as well as allow you to retrieve your results later and modify your drug list if your medications change.
Very importantly, you can change your drug list once a year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. This will allow you to always make sure you are paying as little as possible for your medications.
We are happy to assist you with every part of your transition to Medicare including:
- Fully understanding how Medicare works
- Understanding your Medicare options if you are still working
- Enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B
- Identifying the right Medicare Supplement for you
- Identifying the right Medicare Part D Drug plan for you
- Assisting you with enrolling in the Medicare plans you choose
At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.
Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.
I look forward to talking with you soon.
Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.
p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.