Still Time To Enroll In Medicare A Part D Plan Avoid Penalty

The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is coming to a close on December 31st, 2009. All Medicare Eligible participants who wish to enroll in a Part D plan must do so on or before this date or go without coverage untill next year and pay a late enrollment penalty. 

It is also important to kow that any Medicare Beneficiary who does not enroll in a plan when first eligible will be penalized at a rate of  1% per month for every month not enrolled in a Part D plan. This percentage is based upon the National average for Part D  plans at the time of enrollment. This penalty will be imposed every month the beneficiary is enrolled in a plan with no limit or cap.

This may not seem like very much but it can actually be very expensive.  For instance, if you do not enroll when first eligible and wait 1 year you will pay a 12% per month penalty. Two years is a 24% penalty.

Example:

  1. You did not enroll in a plan when first eligible in 2008 and decide to enroll in 2009.
  • Lets say that the National average for Part D plans in 2009 is $40. This means that you will pay a penalty of  $4.80 per month every month for as long as you have Part D plan.
  • If you use the same example for 2 years the the penalty will double to $9.60 per month.

Keep in  mind that you may also choose a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes Part D coverage and many of these plans offer $0 or a low monthly premium although you will still need to pay your regular Part B premium and any late penalties if applicable. However many healthy seniors simply enroll in your basic $0 premium plan.

Each Medicare participant should evaluate coverage based on the level of care required. Some may actually benefit from a more robust plan and may wish to spend a little more on a monthly premium in order to enroll in a plan that offers more benefits or lower co-pays.

If your income meets certain criteria you may be eligible for Federal or State Part D Subsidies. You sould first visit www.ssa.gov and visit the medicare section to apply.

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