Senior Living



How to avoid the Medicare Part D Penalty


Hello Toni:

I read your article about how ignoring Medicare rules is costing Americans millions and I believe I have made a mistake because I have not enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. I need your help!

I retired in August and had a telemarketing agent help me find a Medicare Supplement which began Sept. 1. No one told me that I had a specific amount of time to enroll in my Medicare Part D plan. Currently, my prescriptions are generic, and I use GoodRx to receive the discount.

When I enrolled on December 15 for a new Medicare Part D plan, I was denied because I did not apply on time.

I am 70 and my Part D will begin next year when I’m 71. Medicare informed me that the Part D penalty will be $0.3470 X 72 months since my Medicare Part A began 6 years ago at 65. I cannot believe that I must pay an extra $25 per month as a Part D “penalty.”

Please explain this ridiculous Medicare Part D rule and when I can begin my plan. Thank you.


--Samuel from Chattanooga, Tenn.


Because you missed the 2024 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), you will have to wait until the next AEP, from Oct.15 to Dec. 7, to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. Your effective date will be Jan. 1, 2025.

The good news is that you are currently taking generics and can use GoodRx (which is not what Medicare deems as a “creditable” prescription drug plan) until you enroll in Medicare Part D during that time. (Chapter 5 of the Toni Says Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition, explains Medicare Part D, how to avoid Part D penalties, and the famous “Donut Hole.”)


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