As the beginning of a new year looms, there are many people thinking of their Medicare part D enrollment options and enrollment. Many people find they have many different questions and need them to be answered. Many new to Medicare often wonder if their enrollment into a Medicare part D prescription drug plan is voluntary.
Enrollment is Voluntary
There are a lot of people that are Medicare eligible but don't want to begin using their Medicare benefits. There are many different reasons for this including continued employment and employer insurance coverage. Those that have creditable coverage don't have to enroll into a Medicare part D prescription drug plan.
Once a person turns 65 years old, they are enrolled into their Medicare part A. That is something that is unavoidable. If they have creditable coverage, they don't have to enroll into their Medicare part B or D. It is important that people understand they have to have some medical and prescription drug coverage that is considered creditable coverage.
Enrollment is Strongly Recommended
Although some people choose not to enroll into a Medicare part D plan because they have coverage elsewhere, there are some that don't have coverage and still choose not to enroll. That is a grave mistake.
Although enrollment is voluntary, it is highly recommended. When a person is eligible for enrollment into a Medicare prescription drug plan and they choose not to enroll, they are at risk for a late enrollment penalty. This penalty is something that will begin to accrue from the time of eligibility until a member finally enrolls into the plan of their choice.
Voluntary but Penalized for Not Enrolling
There are many people that don't understand why they would be penalized for not enrolling in a Medicare part D prescription drug plan. It is an excellent concern for those that are new to their Medicare options and don't know what is available for them.
Enrolling into a Medicare part D plan is optional because there are many different coverage options. There are many people that choose not to retire at 65 and continue to have coverage through their employer's insurance. There are others that have insurance offered to them through their retirement plans. Others find they like other types of Medicare insurance with prescription coverage already involved. There are many different ways for people to continue to have coverage without enrolling into Medicare's prescription drug plans. Because those people have what could be considered creditable coverage, they will avoid the penalty because they already have coverage.
Those that choose not to have any coverage begin to accrue the penalty because they went without coverage for more than 63 days after their previous coverage expired. This penalty is something that was devised to encourage people to take an active part in their Medicare decisions and to continue having active coverage. It is a penalty that has kept people from making the mistake of not having prescription insurance.
It's Not Fair, What Can I Do
There are many people that don't agree with the late enrollment penalty. Those that had coverage for the time they have been given a penalty can appeal the penalty. Those that find they don't like it but didn't have insurance coverage during that time will have to appeal the fine with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The best way to avoid the late enrollment penalty is to enroll into a prescription drug plan during the time that is appropriate.
With the many different options that are available, there aren't many excuses for people not to have prescription drug insurance. Those that choose not to enroll in their Medicare part D prescription drug plans are taking a risk that could have far reaching consequences. Although enrollment is voluntary, it's in every person's best interest to enroll if they are eligible and need the coverage.