If you decide to stick with Original Medicare, then you will need to purchase Part D if you want drug coverage. Part D plans are generally not very expensive, but premium is affected by the IRMAA adjustment. The IRMAA adjustment increases the Part B premium as income increases and it also affects Part D. The IRMAA adjustment is based on income from two years prior( so for 2020 the IRMAA adjustment would be calculated based on income in 2018). Some Part D plans cost $0, but you could still owe the IRMAA adjustment. Stand alone part D plans all have some type of premium even if very low (Aetna looks to be the lowest in 2021 at about $7 a month. Drug plans in a Medicare Advantage Plan are often in a $0 plan.
You might not want to sign up for Part D when you first get on Medicare because you have low prescription cost. If this is the case, then you do need to keep in mind that there is a 1% of the national base beneficiary premium penalty for each full month that you went without coverage. For 2020 this is $32.74. If you did not sign up for Part D when first eligible, then you can join or switch Part D plans between October 15th and December 7th of each year with coverage to start January 1 of the following year.
The key thing to remember when buying a Part D Plan is that the plan with the lowest or no cost may not be the best for you. You will want to use a software to enter your zip code, pharmacy and your list of prescription drugs that will allow you to see a list of Part D Plans available to you that have the lowest total cost including premium, deductible and co-pays.
Each plan is rated between 1 and 5 stars with 5 being the highest by Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
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