What is Medicare Part D?
Medicare Part D is a plan offered by a private insurer that helps cover prescription drug costs. You must be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and/or Part B to be eligible.
Why do I need Medicare Part D?
If you take prescription drugs, you should consider Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn't cover most drugs. If you don't have a Medicare Part D plan or other drug coverage, you'll pay for your drugs out of your own pocket, which can really add up. Part D may help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect you against higher costs in the future.
What are my Part D options?
You have two options for Medicare Part D:
- You can get Medicare Part D through a private insurance company that offers a Medicare Advantage with prescription drug (MAPD) plan. You must have Part A and Part B to join an MAPD plan.
- Or you can get a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan (PDP). You must have Medicare Part A and/or Part B to buy a PDP plan. If you choose an MAPD plan, you don't need Part D. It's already included.
Is every Medicare Part D plan the same?
Medicare Part D monthly premiums, copayments and deductibles vary from one insurer to the next. You will be able to tell if the drugs you take are covered by Medicare Part D by checking our formulary. The formulary is a list of approved drugs covered by your Part D plan. If you find your drugs are not covered, you may want to consider a different plan.
When am I eligible to enroll for Medicare Part D?
The best time to enroll for Part D is during your initial enrollment period:
- The three months before you turn 65
- The month of your birthday
- The three months after you turn 65
If you decide to wait to enroll in Medicare Part D and you don't have "creditable coverage" (coverage as good as Original Medicare) – for instance from an employer or union – you could end up paying a late enrollment penalty. This late enrollment fee will be added to your monthly premium once you do enroll and will continue for as long as you have Medicare. You'll pay a fee based on the following calculation: 1% of the national base premium for that year for every month you were eligible but not enrolled.
Want to switch your Medicare Part D?
If you enroll in a Part D plan that doesn't work for you, you can switch to a different plan during the annual election period (AEP) each year from Oct. 15 - Dec. 7.
Medicare Advantage & Medigap plans
- What is Medicare Part A?
- What is Medicare Part B?
- Medicare Advantage plans (Part C)
- What is Medicare Part D?
- Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans
- Apply for Medicare
- If you have other health coverage
- Medicare Part D coverage gap
- HMO-POS vs. PPO facts
- Medicare Advantage Part D extras
- Medicare 5-star ratings