What Is Medicare Part D?


Quick Answer

Medicare Part D is the prescription drug plan for Medicare recipients. It went into effect in 2006, subsidizing the cost of prescription drugs. This plan can be used with Medicare as well as some other types of insurance, such as coverage provided through a person's employer.

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What Is Medicare Part D?
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Full Answer

Most consumers are familiar with Medicare Part A, which is hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B, which is insurance for doctor's visits. When people sign up for Medicare, they have the option of signing up for Medicare Part D to help pay for costs associated with any medications prescribed by a physician. This benefit, however, is not a separate Medicare benefit.

Medicare beneficiaries has two choices when adding on prescription drug coverage. They can choose to join a stand alone prescription drug plan, or PDP, which is for only for drug coverage. Another option is to join a public Medicare Part C plan. This type of Medicare plan is similar to a health maintenance organization or preferred provider organization insurance plan. Medicare Part C includes all the benefits from Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B as well as prescription drug coverage. These are also called Medicare Advantage Plans, and those with the drug coverage are sometimes referred to as MA-PDs. In order for consumers to take advantage of the Part C benefits, they must already be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.

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