Prescription Drug Plans
Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D)
How does Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) work?
Medicare prescription drug coverage is an optional benefit. Medicare offers drug coverage to everyone with Medicare. Even if you don't take prescriptions now, you should consider joining a Medicare drug plan. If you decide not to join a Medicare drug plan when you're first eligible, and you don't have other creditable prescription drug coverage or get Extra Help, you'll likely pay a late enrollment penalty if you join a plan later. Generally, you'll pay this penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. See pages 77-78.
To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must join a plan approved by Medicare that offers Medicare drug coverage. Each plan can vary in cost and specific drugs covered. Visit the Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan for more information about plans in your area.
There are 2 ways to get Medicare prescription drug coverage:
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. These plans (sometimes called "PDPs") add drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans. You must have Part A and/or Part B to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
Medicare Advantage Plans (like HMOs or PPOs) or other Medicare health plans that offer Medicare prescription drug coverage. You get all of your Part A, Part B, and prescription drug coverage (Part D), through these plans. Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage are sometimes called "MA-PDs." Remember, you must have Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, and not all of these plans offer drug coverage.
In either case, you must live in the service area of the Medicare drug plan you want to join. Both types of plans are called "Medicare drug plans".
To learn more about Medicare Perscription Drug Plans
Get help paying your health & prescription drug costs
What if I need help paying my Medicare prescription drug costs?
If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for help to pay for some health care and prescription drug costs.
Note: Extra Help isn't available in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa. See page 88 for information about programs that are available in those areas.
Extra Help is a Medicare program to help people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug costs. You may qualify for Extra Help if your yearly income and resources are below these limits in 2018.
Learn more about Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Limits