Since Original Medicare Parts A and B do not include any drug coverage, it was important to provide Medicare recipients with an option for insurance that would cover prescription medications. Medicare Part D is the solution to the potentially high out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs.

Part D prescription drug coverage can be sold as a stand-alone plan by a private insurance company that has contracted with Medicare.  These Prescriptions Drug Plans (PDPs) can be purchased by individuals who have Original Medicare. The PDPs can vary by cost and coverage, so it’s important to compare plans available in your area, especially if you already rely on specific medications. Each plan will have its own formulary, or list of covered drugs. Before enrolling, you can compare the plans’ formularies and find the one that meets your individual needs.

Drug coverage can also be incorporated into Medicare Advantage plans. Many Medicare Advantage, or Part C, plans include additional coverage beyond Part A and Part B, including prescription drug coverage. These plans, referred to as “MA-PD” (Medicare Advantage with prescription drug coverage), can vary in cost and benefits, and each plan may have its own formulary, or list of covered drugs. It is important to review your options and compare plans, especially if you already rely on specific dosages of certain medications to improve or maintain your health.