What is Medicare Part D?

Woman sorting prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D

Medicare is made up of parts that each cover a different type of medical need. Medicare Part D is specifically designed to help cover prescription drug costs. You can add a Part D plan to your Medicare coverage if you are eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B. Or, you may choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that likely includes prescription drug coverage (MAPD).

Coverage for prescription drugs is not included in Medicare Supplement insurance plans sold after 2006.

Medicare is made up of Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) and does not cover prescription drug costs. Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies. They have an additional monthly premium that you must pay for this optional benefit.

Insurance companies announce new Medicare Part D plans on October 1st of each year, just ahead of the Medicare Annual Enrollment period, which lasts from October 15th through December 7th.

You are not required to have a Medicare prescription drug plan. However, it may be a good idea to enroll in a plan at the same time you choose your Medicare coverage. If you wait, you may have to pay a late penalty for adding Part D later.

With the cost of prescription medications rising faster than the average paycheck,1 it’s important to think about options that can help. Take time to understand the parts of Medicare so that you can decide the best Medicare options for your needs.


1CBS News (2016, December 30). Web page: Prognosis for Rx in 2017: more painful drug-price hikes. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/drug-prices-to-rise-12-percent-in-2017/.

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