Medicare Part D plans range from $7/month to well over $100/month. If you’re taking ZERO presciptions, you’re likely better off with a cheap drug plan, but beyond that, it really depends on what prescriptions you’re taking. Consider your total out-of-pocket costs when selecting a Part D plan, not just the monthly premiums. The $100/mo plan might have very low co-pays for your medications, while the cheapest plan could not cover them at all. The difference between the best and worst drug plan for you could be thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses per year so please, please, please make sure you compare plans and don’t just sign up for one with a pretty logo!
When you’re just starting Medicare, you’ll have an initial enrollment window for Part D, just like you do for the other parts of Medicare. Once you’re out of that window, you’ll be able to sign up for a new Part D drug plan every year during the Annual Enrollment window of October 15 – December 7. Your new plan will start January 1st of the following year.
Technically no. In practice, we’ve found it is a good idea to get a cheap drug plan just to avoid the Part D Penalty that comes into play if you ever sign up for a drug plan in the future (odds are you will).