Caring for a loved one? Find a part-time job that fits your schedule. Search the AARP Job Board.
En español | Part D is insurance, just like home or auto insurance. You pay premiums to protect yourself from the high costs of fire and accidents in the future, even if you never expect to make a claim. Part D plays a similar role: It’s there if and when you need it. The difference is that as you get older your chances of needing prescription drugs are far higher than the chances of totaling your car or burning down your home.
If you have no comparable drug coverage from elsewhere (such as from an employer, COBRA, retiree benefits or the Veterans Affairs health system) and if you don’t enroll in a Part D plan when you’re first eligible, you risk permanent late penalties when you do finally sign up.
But the real cost of failing to sign up is being without drug coverage. You cannot foresee when you might fall victim to some serious illness or injury that requires expensive drugs to treat. (Some drugs these days cost thousands of dollars a month.) And if that should happen, you can’t get immediate coverage from Part D. Instead, you’d have to wait until the next annual open enrollment period (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) and coverage wouldn’t begin until Jan. 1.
Still, when you take no or very few medications, paying monthly premiums to a Part D drug plan can seem like a waste of money. So you may want to consider a compromise: Pick the Part D plan with the lowest premium in your area. That way, you get the protection of coverage, but at the least cost.
Return to Medicare Q&A Tool main page >>
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at