Best Medicare Part D Plans in 2021

In this article...
  • Where can you find the best Medicare Part D prescription drug plans of 2021? We review some of the top insurance companies and their Medicare drug plan options to help you get a better idea of what plans might be a good fit for you.

There are 996 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) available across the country in 2021. The average Medicare beneficiary will be able to choose from an average of 30 Part D plans and 27 Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, or MA-PD). 

With so many options, how can shoppers identify the best Medicare Part D plans for 2021? 

Use the guide below for help finding the best Part D prescription drug plans for your needs. 

What Are the Most Popular Medicare Part D Companies for 2021?

Big doesn’t always mean best, but these insurance carriers didn’t collect a large share of the Part D marketplace by accident. Below is a look at some of the most popular Medicare Part D plan providers for 2021. 

Humana

Humana logo

Humana is a well-known health insurance provider with millions of members all over the U.S. Nearly one in five Medicare Part D beneficiaries are enrolled in a Humana Medicare drug plan in 2021.1

Humana offers three Part D plans for 2021 that are straightforward and easy to learn about and compare on the Humana website. The plan selection can offer something for just about everyone, with the lowest-cost plan featuring monthly premiums of $17.20 per month and $0 deductibles for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs.

  • Humana Walmart Value Rx Plan (PDP)
    Monthly premium: $17.20
    Annual deductible: $0 (Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs), $445 (Tiers 3, 4 and 5)
    Preferred cost sharing pharmacies: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter, HEB, Costco

  • Humana Premier Rx Plan (PDP)
    Weighted average monthly premium: $651
    Annual deductible: $0 (Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs), $445 (Tiers 3, 4 and 5)
    Preferred cost sharing pharmacies: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter, HEB, Costco

  • Humana Basic Rx Plan (PDP)
    Weighted average monthly premium: $311
    Annual deductible: $445 (All drug tiers)
    Preferred cost sharing pharmacies: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter, HEB, Costco

Humana also offers multiple mobile apps that allow members to manage their prescription drugs anywhere they go.

Aetna/CVS

Aetna logo

Because Aetna is a CVS Health company, plan members have access to more than 65,000 pharmacies, with CVS locations serving as a preferred provider that can offer plan members even bigger savings. 

Aetna offers three main Part D plans in 2021, including its mid-tier plan that is available in all 50 states and another plan that has an average monthly premium of just $7.15 in 2021. 

  • SilverScript SmartRx (PDP)
    Average monthly premium: $7.15
    Annual deductible: $0 for Tier 1 drugs

  • SilverScript Choice (PDP)
    Average monthly premium: $28.49
    Annual deductible: $0 for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs

  • SilverScript Plus (PDP) – not available in Alaska
    Average monthly premium: $69.52
    Annual deductible: $0 for all drug tiers

Cigna

Cigna logo

Cigna Medicare Part D plans follows a similar low/middle/high plan tier common in the industry, and consumers in mid-size markets and above may have access to all three of Cigna’s Part D plans.

  • Cigna Secure Rx
    Average weighted monthly premium: $291
    Median standard cost-sharing: $1 for preferred generics, $2 for other generics

  • Cigna Secure-Essential Rx
    Average weighted monthly premium: $241
    Median standard cost-sharing: $0 for preferred generics, $2 for other generics

  • Cigna Secure-Extra Rx
    Average weighted monthly premium: $501
    Median standard cost-sharing: $4 for preferred generics, $10 for other generics

Cigna plans are available in parts of all 50 states, and Cigna’s mobile app allows members to order prescription drugs for home delivery right from their phone. 

As a company, Cigna has a reputation for financial stability and ranks 13th on the Fortune 500 list

UnitedHealthcare/AARP 

AARP and UHC logo

AARP sells Medicare Part D plans in partnership with UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurance company in the U.S. 

AARP Medicare drug plans from UnitedHealthcare can include $0 copays and deductibles on lower tier drugs. Up to 3 months’ worth of prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

  • AARP MedicareRx Preferred
    Average weighted monthly premium: $891
    Median standard cost-sharing: $5 for preferred generics, $10 for other generics

  • AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus
    Average weighted monthly premium: $331
    Median standard cost-sharing: $1 for preferred generics, $6 for other generics

  • AARP MedicareRx Walgreens
    Average weighted monthly premium: $351
    Median standard cost-sharing: $0 for preferred generics, $6 for other generics

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

Anthem BCBS Logo

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is part of the Anthem family of brands and is a blue health plan brand. Because Anthem brands and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies can vary by location, we encourage you to explore Anthem’s more detailed quote process to find plans that are available in your zip code.

BCBS.com provides this list of Medicare plans by state, including standalone Part D prescription drug plans.

WellCare

WellCare logo

WellCare offers six different Part D plans in 2021, which is twice as many as some other Part D plan carriers. You can visit the WellCare website and enter your zip code to compare the WellCare Part D plans that may be available where you live.

  • WellCare Classic
    Average weighted monthly premium: $281
    Median standard cost-sharing: $0 for preferred generics, $2 for other generics

  • WellCare Medicare Rx Saver
    Average weighted monthly premium: $321
    Median standard cost-sharing: $0 for preferred generics, $4 for other generics

  • WellCare Medicare Rx Select
    Average weighted monthly premium: $241
    Median standard cost-sharing: 0 for preferred generics, $3 for other generics

  • WellCare Medicare Rx Value Plus
    Average weighted monthly premium: $761
    Median standard cost-sharing: $1 for preferred generics, $4 for other generics

  • WellCare Value Script
    Average weighted monthly premium: $171
    Median standard cost-sharing: $0 for preferred generics, $7 for other generics

  • WellCare Wellness Rx
    Average weighted monthly premium: $161
    Median standard cost-sharing: $0 for preferred generics, $5 for other generics

Features of the Best Part D Plans of 2021

Many of the best Medicare Part D plans of 2021 may share some of the same common features. When comparing plans, check to see if any of the following are included.

  • Mail-order drug delivery. It’s not uncommon these days for Medicare insurers to offer mail-order delivery of prescription drugs to allow Part D plan members to have their medications delivered right to their door, often at no extra cost.

  • Additional discounts. Part D beneficiaries are sometimes granted discounts on other health-related products or services. 

  • Medication Therapy Management (MTM). This program can help beneficiaries who take multiple prescription drugs better manage their medications.

  • Large pharmacy networks. The best Part D plans typically have networks of participating pharmacies that number in the tens of thousands and include major chains like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and more.

  • Low or $0 copays or deductibles. One feature common among the best Part D plans is copays between $0 and $2 for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs, which can include many generics and commonly-prescribed medications. Many top plans will also offer $0 deductibles for these drugs. 

Best States for Medicare Part D Plans

Medicare Part D plan selection varies by county and state, so not all beneficiaries have access to the same options. 

According to one study, Hawaii, Delaware, Nevada, Alaska and North Dakota have some of the best Medicare Part D markets in the U.S., characterized by a generous selection, low costs and high quality. 

Choosing a Medicare Part D Plan

At the end of the day, the best Medicare Part D plan boils down to the best Medicare Part D plan for you. And that means being able to say yes to each of the following 3 questions:

  1. Is the plan available where you live? Not all plans are available in every location. Not even all insurance carriers sell plans in every state. And you can only enroll in plans that are offered in the service area in which you live.

  2. Does the plan cover the drugs you need? A plan that doesn’t cover the medications you take serves little purpose. Check the plan’s formulary, which is the list of drugs covered by the plan, before enrolling.

  3. Is the plan accepted by your local pharmacies? Even a high-quality plan is of little use if you can’t use it at your local pharmacies. Always check the plan’s network of participating pharmacies to see where you can use the coverage.  

When shopping for a Medicare Part D plan, you might also consider looking at Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug coverage. 

Lastly, connecting with an insurance agent who is licensed to sell Medicare Part D can be helpful in narrowing down the right plan for your needs. 

  1. Cubanski J, Damico A. (Oct. 29, 2020). Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2021. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/report-section/medicare-part-d-a-first-look-at-medicare-prescription-drug-plans-in-2021-tables.

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