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Medicare prescription drugs

Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

Updated: May 8, 2015 by Catharine D. Allado

Medicare offers prescription drug coverage for everyone with Medicare. This is called “Part D.” This coverage may help lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. It can give you greater access to drugs that you can use to prevent complications of diseases and stay well.

If you join a Medicare drug plan, you pay a monthly premium. Part D is optional. If you decide not to enroll in a Medicare drug plan when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a penalty if you choose to join later.

Medicare drug plans are run by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare.

There are two ways to get Medicare prescription drug coverage:

1. Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plans that adds coverage to

  • the Original Medicare Plan,
  • some Medicare Private Fee-for Service Plans,
  • some Medicare Cost Plans, and
  • Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.

2. Join a Medicare Health Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that includes prescription drug coverage
that is a part of the plan. You get all of your Medicare health care including prescription drug coverage through these plans.


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