It’s official: You signed up for Original Medicare Parts A and B. Your enrollment isn’t quite finished yet though — at least, it shouldn’t be. Your next step is to enroll in a prescription drug plan. This is true even if you’re not presently taking any medications. It is important that you enroll in a timely fashion to avoid lifetime late enrollment penalties.
On May 29, 2010 my husband and I were enjoying a vacation in the Pacific Northwest when we received a “frantic” call from my sister-in-law who was staying with my 92-year-old mother-in-law. We had ordered a refill of Mom’s medication through her Medicare Part D plan. The plan called to see if it was okay to put a $1,200 charge on my credit card. “But I thought Mom has Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage” my sister-in-law exclaimed. Mom does have a Part D plan but she had reached the “donut hole” or coverage gap in the plan. How did this happen?