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The Best Medicare Part D Providers for Seniors in 2021

Best Overall
Best Pharmacy Network
Best Membership Perks
Scroll right for more options

Prescription drugs aren’t getting any cheaper. If you’re an older adult taking any medications, you know just how true that statement is. If you’re looking for a way to reduce your medication costs, a Medicare Part D plan might suit your needs, as it offers prescription drug coverage not covered under Original Medicare. With so many providers on the market to choose from, we’ve narrowed down our list to the top four Medicare Part D providers:

How We Chose the Best Medicare Part D Providers

Picking the right Medicare Part D plan, also called a prescription drug plan (PDP), may seem overwhelming, with so many plans to choose from. Our mission is to provide you with the right information so you can make the best decision based on your needs. We looked at leading providers across the nation while comparing prices, plan availability, ease of website navigation, overall customer satisfaction, and perks for being a customer. See which providers made our list!

  • 1. Cigna - Best Overall

    Overview

    With more than 225 years in business and serving over 165 million customers, Cigna stands out as a leader for insurance coverage. Cigna offers Medicare Part D plans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. They have over 63,000 pharmacies and more than 3,000 medications as part of their formulary. Now that’s impressive coverage!

    With Cigna’s lower premiums, deductibles, and copays for Tier 1 and 2 drugs at preferred pharmacies, you’re sure to get a great price compared to other providers. Cigna also offers excellent online perks and discounts to their members, such as savings on LASIK vision correction or certain yoga products and acupuncture, to name a few. You can check out our Cigna Medigap review for more details.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Seven percent household premium discount in most states when more than one person in your household enrolls in Medigap insurance
    • Customer service based in the United States, available via phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time
    • Enrollment in Cigna Healthy Rewards program is free and can result in additional savings in areas such as weight management, massage and wellness products
    Cons
    • Not all plans are available in all states
    • Pricing methods differ from region to region
    • Offers only Plans A, F, high-deductible F, G and N
    • Process of getting online quotes can be cumbersome or impossible, depending on your state

    The Bottom Line

    Cigna is one of our best options for Medicare Part D providers because of their pricing, plan coverage, and availability. You can choose from three Part D plans, ranging in monthly premium prices and deductible costs. All three plans offer a zero-dollar copay for Tier 1 preferred generic medications when you choose mail order from a pharmacy with preferred cost-sharing. That adds up to significant savings in money and time! Cigna also earns points for extras, such as ease of website navigation and added customer perks.

  • 2. Aetna - Best Pharmacy Network

    Overview

    Aetna made our list of best Medicare Part D providers for several reasons. They serve more than 39 million people and have been in business for over 170 years, making them an industry mainstay. Aetna is now a subsidiary of CVS and has over 65,000 pharmacies in their network for accessible nationwide coverage. They also offer a wide range of coverage options, including Medicare Part D, Medigap, and comprehensive coverage plans. See our Aetna Medigap review for more information.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Offers Plans A, B, F, high-deductible F, G and N (Plan C available in Michigan)
    • Available in most states
    • Chart shows seniors how much their premiums could go up as they age
    • Process of getting online quotes is a delight
    • Seven percent household discount in most areas if your spouse or partner also has a plan, and the both of you have lived together for the past 12 months
    Cons
    • Older seniors may not like the attained-age pricing model
    • Generally does not offer one of the more popular options, Plan C (although it is being discontinued to new enrollees starting in 2020)

    The Bottom Line

    We feel Aetna may be a great option for your Medicare Part D provider if you are on a fixed income or looking for an extensive pharmacy selection because you travel frequently. It may also be a great choice if you currently take little to no medication but are looking for an affordable PDP so you won’t pay the late enrollment penalty down the line. That’s smart thinking!

    FYI: Aetna’s SilverScript SmartRx PDP is one of the lowest-priced plans available in the nation.

  • 3. Humana - Best Membership Perks

    Overview

    Humana serves over 17 million customers and has been in business since 1961. They offer two plans with $0 deductibles and copays for Tier 1 drugs or as low as $1 for Tier 2 drugs. The provider keeps costs down by networking with Walmart and Sam’s Club. You can check out our latest Humana Medigap review for more information. Humana has great mobile app features that let you check your policy and coverage or reorder medications. They also have a fitness app if you are interested and enjoy being an active older adult.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Easy online process to get covered
    • Small discount for online-only enrollments
    • Quotes include preferred and standard rates and rates by age and gender
    • Additional coverage in many areas available for Part D, dental and vision
    Cons
    • Some ZIP codes have limited plan choices or no choices
    • Attained-age pricing may not appeal to some seniors

    The Bottom Line

    Humana is a solid Medicare Part D option for the low overall cost, membership perks, and nationwide availability. If you travel often, take preferred generics, or enjoy mobile fitness apps, their plans are worth considering. You may also qualify for a one-on-one, comprehensive review of the medications you take with a specialist through Humana’s Medication Therapy Management Program. This just goes to show that Humana cares about their customers’ well-being.

  • 4. AARP from UnitedHealthcare - Best Customer Service

    Overview

    AARP’s MedicareRx prescription drug program from UnitedHealthcare is another excellent option to consider for your Medicare Part D provider. UnitedHealthcare has been in business since 1977, serves more than 45 million people, and, in 1997, teamed up with AARP for better Medicare prescription drug coverage. AARP has great ratings, and you can save even more by using their preferred partner pharmacies, Walgreens and Duane Reade. You can also review your policy and manage prescriptions from one mobile app, plus access a plethora of educational materials from their website. We appreciate these additional resources! Check out our UnitedHealthcare review for more information.

    Ease of use Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Eight plans offered in many areas: F, G, A, B, C, K, L and N
    • You can apply to join AARP at the same time you apply for a Medigap supplement plan
    • More flexibility to change to another Medigap plan if you qualify
    • Enrollment discount in many states of up to 30 percent starting at age 65 and decreasing 3 percent thereafter
    • Five percent household discount in most states
    Cons
    • Does not offer high-deductible Plan F
    • Premiums may be a bit more pricey than at other insurers due to the community-pricing model

    The Bottom Line

    If you are an older adult looking for a Medicare Part D provider, you may consider AARP prescription drug plans from UnitedHealthcare. Although the AARP MedicareRx Preferred PDP may have higher monthly premiums, it also has a $0 deductible across all drug tiers, which is worth the price in our book.

How to Choose a Medicare Part D Plan

When you’re choosing your Medicare Part D provider, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • The provider’s drug formulary compared to your current medications
  • Your need for a large network of pharmacies if you travel frequently
  • Whether you qualify for Medicare Savings Programs
  • Price in premiums compared to deductibles and copays

Pro Tip: Check out SHIP, a state health insurance assistance program that offers free, unbiased, one-on-one, and local Medicare plan counseling.

As you research prescription drug coverage, you might be debating between a PDP and a Medicare Advantage plan. Here are a few instances where it may be best to choose a Medicare Part D plan:

  • You don’t have other drug coverage.
  • You are in the Medicare enrollment window.
  • Original Medicare and Medicare Part D are cheaper for you than other coverage options.

How Much Do Medicare Part D Plans Cost?

Medicare Part D plans vary in costs depending on location and plan. Most Medicare Part D providers give you three plans to choose from, ranging from basic to premium coverage, which can be deducted from your Social Security check for added convenience.

The average base beneficiary premium is $33.06,1 and you may pay extra based on your income. The good news is that the annual deductible will not exceed $445. The bad news is that there is a coverage gap, often referred to as the “donut hole.” You enter the coverage gap when you and your Medicare Part D provider have collectively spent $4,130 in 2021. You will then be responsible for 25 percent of prescription costs until you reach an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,550 and enter what’s called catastrophic coverage. Once you are in this coverage, you will pay only a small percentage of the cost of your medications. This won’t apply to all older adults, especially those on fewer or more affordable medications, but it’s still important to note.

When to Enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan

It’s best to start shopping early. You may enroll up to three months before your 65th birthday, and you have until three months after. Remember to check your provider’s drug formulary every year to compare it with competitors and your current medications, as formularies can change. You can always change your Medicare Part D provider during open enrollment, which is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 every year. You also will have 63 days after moving to enroll in a different plan based on your location.

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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