Do I Need Medicare Part D If I Don't Take Any Drugs?
If you are healthy and don’t take prescription medicines, you might be asking yourself if having a Medicare Part D Drug Plan is necessary.
Part D plans cover prescription drugs, so it may not seem like an obvious choice. However, not enrolling in a Part D plan may cost you more money in the long run, either through late enrollment penalties or through unexpected and expensive prescription costs.
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.
Do I need Medicare Part D if I don’t take any drugs?
Need? No. Medicare Part D Drug Plans are not required coverage. Whether you take drugs or not, you do not need Medicare Part D. But that doesn’t mean you should skip getting a drug plan.
Drug plans offer coverage for prescriptions. We strongly recommend enrolling in a Part D plan even if you don’t feel you need it right now, because it will likely save you money in the future and give you coverage in case you need it.
The Center for Disease Control reports that over 85% of adults over the age of 60 take at least one prescription per month. Even if you don’t now, statistics show that you will more than likely need a prescription at some point in the future.
If you find yourself asking if you need Part D coverage, we have a previous blog post that addresses common concerns people have. Our post “Do I Really Need a Medicare Part D Drug Plan” covers the basics of what a Part D plan is, what it covers, and why you may want one even if you’re healthy.
Pros and cons of enrolling in Part D with no active prescriptions
Pro: No late penalty
Medicare Part D late enrollment has a penalty that will apply for as long as you are enrolled in the program.
By enrolling early and getting a low premium plan, you can save a lot of money down the line when you start needing prescriptions.
Con: Monthly payment
If you don’t need it, it may seem silly to be paying a monthly insurance cost. However, many Part D plans are available for less than what you pay for a combo meal at most fast-food restaurants.
Pro: You have coverage when you need it
Fun fact: we don’t buy insurance when we need it. We buy it in case we need it. No one plans for car accidents, flooded basements and hospital stays. We prepare for those situations in case they happen by buying insurance for our cars, homes and families.
By preparing now, we save serious costs when those situations happen.
Con: It may feel like a waste of money (for now)
No one likes wasting money, but the fact is that everyone does it. The New York Times reports that the average American household spend hundreds on subscriptions annually. The cost of things like magazines, newspapers and streaming services add up fast. And none of those save you money on things that can potentially save your life!
A small monthly cost is nothing compared to the cost of having the coverage you need when you need it. I’d like to see Netflix get you affordable insulin.
How much is the Part D late enrollment penalty?
The penalty is 1% of the national base average per month. If your penalty ends up being $10 and your ideal plan is $24, you will pay $34 per month for the entire time you have that plan.
Part D penalties never expire or end. If you want to learn more about Medicare late penalties, we have a blog dedicated to just that. “Medicare Drug Coverage Penalty: How the Part D Penalty for Not Enrolling Works” answers all your questions about late enrollment penalties.
Which drug plan should I get if I don’t take any drugs?
What plan you should get is based on several different factors, including where you live, what plans are offered in your area, your financial situation and other important concerns.
If you do not take any prescriptions currently, finding an affordable plan with a low monthly premium might serve you best. However, before you choose any plan, you will want to make sure that it covers the pharmacy you prefer in your area.
What if I only take a couple of generics?
Generics with Medicare Part D may cost less than you are currently paying. For as low as 6 or 7 dollars a month, you could have lower prescription costs on generics, too.
For many generic drugs, this makes it cheaper to have the drug plan than to rely on pharmacy costs or coupon programs like GoodRx.
No one can predict the future. Just because you don’t have any prescription costs right now does not mean that will be true next week, next month, or next year. We don’t buy insurance to only deal with what we have today — we buy it for security in the future.
Give us a shout today to review your options with a free Part D plan comparison.
How to Compare Drug Plan Costs
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