Medicare Part D Plans 2021

Medicare 2021 Part D plans can save you money on prescription drugs. People with Original Medicare who have Part A or Part B can enroll in a Part D plan. Then you can get a prescription card to reduce your out-of-pocket drug costs.

According to, you will be “disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage Plan and returned to Orginal Medicare” if both of the following is true:

  • You are in a Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO and
  • You join a separate Medicare Part D drug plan

To keep your Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, you can switch to a different MA plan that includes drug coverage.

Senior man pays for prescription drugs at pharmacy
Happy senior saves on prescription drugs.

Your Medicare Drug Costs

Your Medicare Part D plan costs in 2021 will vary based on your answers to these questions:

  • Does the Part D plan cover your list of prescriptions? Find a 2021 Part D plan that includes all your drugs.
  • Which drug tiers are your prescriptions? Discover the 2021 cost differences between Part D drug tiers.
  • Which stage are you in, such as have you met your deductible? Discover the four stages of Part D coverage and costs in 2021
  • What pharmacy do you use? Is your pharmacy preferred or out of network? For example, your out-of-pocket costs may be less at a preferred pharmacy because it has agreed with your plan to charge less.
Senior woman paying for prescription drugs at pharmacy
Senior woman pays for prescriptions at pharmacy.

Drug Plan Premiums in 2021

Most Part D drug plans charge a monthly premium. The average 2021 Part D premium will be approximately $30.50. Find out how this low 2021 premium compares to previous years. Furthermore, learn about the $35 copay cap for a month’s supply of insulin. 

In addition to your monthly Part D premium, you must also pay your Part B premium of $148.50 in 2021. However, you may pay less based on 2021 COLA – Cost of Living Adjustment. On the other hand, you could pay more if you had a high-income level in the previous two years. Learn more about Medicare Part B premiums in 2021.

Senior woman injects herself with insulin
Senior woman injects herself with insulin.

When to Enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan?

You can enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan when you initially enroll in Medicare. Learn how to enroll in Medicare. You are first eligible to enroll in Medicare 3 months before you turn age 65. Then it includes the month of your 65th birthday and three months after the month you turned 65. 

We recommend enrolling in a Medicare Part D Plan when you are first eligible to avoid late enrollment penalties. However, if you have credible drug coverage, you can postpone enrolling in Part D and avoid late enrollment penalties. For example, employer drug coverage or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage qualifies as credible drug coverage.

When to enroll in Medicare Part D seniors celebrate 65th birthday
You can enroll in a Part D Plan with you turn 65.

How much are Part D Late Enrollment Penalties?

Part D late enrollment penalties accumulate at 1% per month. For example, 12 months equals a 12% late penalty. Furthermore, you will owe the late penalty every month you are in a Medicare Part D Plan. It’s not a one-time penalty. You pay the late penalty every month you have a Part D Plan. calculates your penalty as follows: Multiply 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($33.06 in 2021) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or credible coverage.

Therefore, we recommend you find a Medicare Part D Plan when you are first eligible. To avoid accumulating a late enrollment penalty, you can sign up for an inexpensive plan. 

Senior Woman finds Medicare Part D Plan on her computer

The Cost of Not Having Drug Coverage

Mr. Anderson had been healthy most of his entire life, and at the time of his Medicare enrollment period, was not taking any prescriptions. The insurance agent advised him to enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan to avoid late penalties. However, Mr. Anderson decided to gamble on his good health and decided not to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.

Mr. Anderson was enrolled in Original Medicare for two years without any health issues. Then at age 67, he had a heart attack. His doctor prescribed a new heart drug, Corlanor, to treat and reduce new heart failures. The cost of this life-saving heart medication is $375 per month.

Because Mr. Anderson’s heart attack occurred on April 1, he could not enroll in a Part D Drug Plan until October 15. During the Annual Enrollment Period October 15 – December 7, he enrolled in a Part D Plan.

Senior Man in hospital bed
Mr. Anderson in the hospital after a heart attack.

However, the new drug plan would not be effective until next year, on January 1. Therefore, he would have to pay $375 for eight months for a total of $3,000 out-of-pocket drug costs.

Why You Need Drug Coverage

The story of Mr. Anderson shows how expensive drug costs can be. However, having a Part D drug plan can save you thousands of dollars per year. You never know what kind of health condition you may have in the future. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to get drug coverage to minimize your out-of-pocket drug costs.

Find the Right Medicare Part D Plan

Senior Healthcare Direct is happy to help you find the right Drug Plan. Please fill out our Drug Finder Form, and a licensed agent can find you a drug plan that covers your specific list of prescription drugs. Moreover, we compare the prices of all available drug plans, so you get the most cost-effective Part D plan.