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Prescription drugs aren’t getting any cheaper. If you’re 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 carriers on the market to choose from, we’ve narrowed down our list to six Medicare Part D carriers SeniorLiving.org recommends:
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 an informed decision based on your needs. We looked at insurers across the nation while comparing prices, plan availability, ease of website navigation, overall customer satisfaction, and perks for being a customer. All opinions and recommendations are developed independently by SeniorLiving.org. See which carriers made our list!
Humana’s Medicare Part D plans offer low overall costs, membership perks, and nationwide availability. If you travel often, take preferred generics, or enjoy mobile fitness apps, their plans may be 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.
FYI: Humana provides several types of insurance for Medicare beneficiaries. You can check out our latest Humana Medigap review and Humana Medicare Advantage review for more information.
If you live in a state where Anthem is a carrier, they may be a solid choice to explore. We were impressed with the online experience, enrollment tutorials, health and wellness resources, and medication research tools. If you’re weighing your options on a stand-alone prescription drug plan versus a Medicare Part C plan with drug coverage, check out our Anthem Medicare Advantage plans review for more details.
Cigna is one of our recommendations for Medicare Part D carriers because of their pricing, plan coverage, and availability. You may be able to choose from three Part D plans, ranging in monthly premium prices and deductible costs. Cigna’s plans offer a $0 copay for Tier 1 preferred generic medications when you choose mail order from a pharmacy with preferred cost-sharing. That can add up to significant savings in money and time! Cigna also earns points for extras, such as ease of website navigation and added customer perks.
As one of the largest managed care organizations across the United States, Wellcare’s plan offerings, including their tiered Medicare Part D plans, are noteworthy. Their large pharmacy network rivals healthcare giants like Aetna and Cigna. Wellcare also delivers Medicare Advantage plans complete with dental, hearing, and vision benefits. With Wellcare’s Part D range of plans, you’re in control of your healthcare needs, prescription benefits, and financial costs.
We feel Aetna may be a great option for your Medicare Part D plan 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!
If you are an older adult looking for a Medicare Part D carrier, 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 drug tiers, which may be worth the price in our book.
When you’re choosing your Medicare Part D plan, it is important to keep the following in mind:
Pro Tip: Check out SHIP, a state health insurance assistance program that offers free, unbiased, one-on-one, and local Medicare plan counseling.
Medicare Part D plans vary in costs depending on location and plan. Most Medicare Part D carriers give you a few 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 $33.37,2 and you may pay extra based on your income. The good news is that the annual deductible will not exceed $505 in 2023. 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 carrier have collectively spent $4,660 in 2023. You will then be responsible for 25 percent of prescription costs until you reach an out-of-pocket maximum of $7,400 and enter what’s called catastrophic coverage. Once you are in this coverage, you may pay only a small percentage of the cost of your medications. This won’t apply to all enrollees, especially those on fewer or more affordable medications, but it’s still important to note.
It’s best to start shopping early. You may enroll up to three months before your 65th birth month, and you have until three months after. Remember to check your carrier’s drug formulary every year to compare it with competitors and your current medications, as formularies can change. You may be able to change your Medicare Part D plan 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.
Pro Tip: For an in-depth look at Medicare, including when you can enroll in or switch your Part D prescription drug plan, head over to our Medicare enrollment guide.
Maureen joined SeniorLiving.org with more than 10 years of experience writing in health, lifestyle, and nutrition for premium brands like General Mills, Westinghouse, and Bristol Myers Squibb. Her passion for empowering older adults is evident in coverage of topics like retirement, health… Learn More About Maureen Stanley
Humana. (2022). Humana ranked No. 1 among health insurers for Customer Experience.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020). CENTER FOR MEDICARE.