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How to avoid the Medicare Part D Penalty

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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.

Samuel:

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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