Medicare Part D

Part D (“D” as in “Drug”) is the part of Medicare that provides insurance coverage for prescription drugs.  These Plans are offered by Private Insurance companies which have been contracted by CMS to administer this coverage.  Part D can be received through a Medicare Advantage Plan which includes Drug coverage.  Such plans are known as MAPD plans (Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans).  Part D can also be received through Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plans.  Stand-Alone plans are often called “PDPs” – Prescription Drug Plans. 

Regarding Part D, I am going to take a different approach than I have with other Medicare topics on this site.  Rather that re-writing what can be found on many other sites, to get a basic understanding of what Part D is, I recommend that you visit this  This link takes you directly to the Medicare page filled with information and other links to help you understand Part D.   

However, by referring you to the Medicare site, I don’t mean to imply that I have nothing helpful to say about Part D.  Oh, I have plenty to say.  …And some of it may even be helpful.  (Ba-dum-Boom.)  These are opinions I have formed over the years by helping many clients and observing non-clients make decisions about Prescription Drug Coverage.  

Two Comments About STAND-ALONE PART D PLANS – 

  1. Avoid late-enrollment penalties.  Even if you don’t think you need Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, unless you have Credible Coverage for prescriptions through another source like the Veteran Administration, I urge you to consider enrolling in a plan to avoid late-enrollment penalties in the future.  If you truly don’t plan on using the plan, then just consider the plan with the lowest monthly premium.   

I remember a time when the least expensive Part D plan had a premium amount that may have deterred Medicare Beneficiaries from enrolling in a plan if they did not take prescriptions.  But as of 2024, there are Part D plans with low premiums in many areas of the nation. Therefore, in my opinion, even for those who are not currently taking prescribed drugs, enrolling in a Part D plan makes more sense than opting to accept late-enrollment penalties in the future. 

  1. Don’t be passive or lazy about your Part D plan.  Each year, from October 15 to December 7 – a period known as Annual Election Period (AEP) – Medicare Beneficiaries can review their Part D coverage and change plans.  (Plan changes during AEP take effect on January 1 the following calendar year.)  I recommend using this period to evaluate your Prescription needs and the plans offered in your area, rather than just letting your current plan roll over to the next year without any consideration.   

If you work with an agent, they should be willing to assist you with this review.  For those who want to be self-sufficient in this endeavor, it doesn’t have to be an odious task.  Sign in to your portal on the site which is not the same username and password as the SSA.GOV site.  If you don’t have a username and password for, you should register if you are a Medicare Beneficiary.  Once logged in, click on the link that helps you shop for the upcoming year’s plans.