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21. What if I don't spend much money on prescription drugs today?

It may still make sense to sign up for a plan in order to avoid the late enrollment penalty and to obtain insurance in case your expenses increase suddenly. Your decision will likely be based on your ability to pay and your willingness to take the risk that your expenses will stay low. Statistics show that millions of Medicare beneficiaries have low prescription drug expenses when they are below the age of 70. However, statistics also show that older beneficiaries often have much higher drug expenses. If health problems do appear suddenly, prescription drug costs can rise quickly.

Unless you already have drug coverage that is at least as good as Medicare’s, you will be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you delay signing up for a plan when you are eligible to do so. You will pay this increased premium amount as long as you remain in the program.

For seniors in this situation, it may make sense to enroll in a very inexpensive plan, if one is available in your area, even if you don’t receive an extensive benefit from the plan today. By doing so, you have insurance coverage in case your health needs change suddenly, plus you won’t be subject to any late enrollment penalties.

You can always switch to a more comprehensive plan during the next available enrollment period.



   

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