How Much Does Medicare Part D Cost in 2022?

In this article...
  • The average Part D plan premium in 2022 is around $33 per month, and the standard Part D deductible is $480 per year, though plan costs can vary. Learn more about Medicare drug costs and compare plans to see if there are $0 deductible plans available where you live.

Costs are among the first concerns many Medicare beneficiaries may have about Part D Medicare prescription drug. So how much does Medicare Part D cost? 

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the average cost of a Medicare Part D plan in 2022 will be approximately $33 per month. That represents a 4.9% increase from the 2021 average of $31.47 per month. 

But what exactly factors into the cost of a Medicare Part D plan, and how are premiums influenced?

You can compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans online for free, with no obligation to enroll. If you find a plan you want and are eligible, you can enroll online from the comfort of your own home. You can also call to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can help you compare different plans, and they may be able to help you enroll find a plan that covers the drugs you take at a price you can afford.

Part D Plan Formularies Can Affect Cost

Part D drug plans separate drugs into different tiers on the plan formulary, or the list of drugs the plan covers. The tiers can typically range from low-cost generic drugs on lower tiers to higher-cost name brand drugs on higher tiers.

As with nearly any type of insurance, the cost of a Medicare Part D plan will be influenced at least in part by the amount of coverage it offers. Some lower-cost plans might cover commonly-prescribed generic drugs with a small copay or coinsurance cost, while some more expensive plans might cover these lower tier drugs with $0 copay, or they may charge smaller copays for rare brand name higher tier drugs compared to other Part D plans. 

2022 Standard Part D Deductible Is Increasing

The insurance companies that offer Part D prescription drug plans are free to set their own deductible amount for the plan, but it can’t be higher than the standard deductible limit set by the CMS. In 2022, the standard Part D deductible is $480 for the year, an increase from $445 in 2021.

Some Part D plans might offer a low monthly premium but require a higher annual drug deductible, while some other plans might require a higher monthly premium but offer a lower deductible. In fact, some Part D plans even offer $0 deductibles.

Where You Live, Your Insurance Provider and Your Income Can Affect Your Part D Premiums

Insurance of any kind is typically at the mercy of the local market and economy. Premiums vary between large cities and small towns depending on things like cost of living, available resources and local competition among insurance carriers.

Medicare Part D does not have standardized premiums the way Part A and Part B do. The insurance company selling a Medicare Part D drug plan has the discretion to set their own premiums, deductibles and copayments within certain parameters. It’s not uncommon to see two very identical Part D plans sold in the same area by two different insurance companies with slightly different premiums. 

The chart below shows examples of some Medicare Part D drug costs for Los Angeles, CA.1 The sample does not reflect the complete selection of plans in the area and is used to display examples of how plan costs can vary from one plan to another. 

Sample Part D Plan Costs
Plan Name Monthly Premium Deductible

Aetna SilverScript Smart Rx

$7.20

$445

Clear Spring Health Premier Rx

$13.30

$445

Elixir RxPlus

$15.10

$445

AARP MedicareRx SaverPlus

$29.20

$445

WellCare Classic

$30.10

$445

Humana Basic Rx Plan

$30.30

$445

Express Scripts Medicare

$61.00

$445

Anthem Blue Cross MediBlue Rx Plus

$79.90

$0

Mutual of Omaha Rx Plus

$100

$445


Your income can also influence the amount you will pay for a Medicare Part D plan. This is because of IRMAA, or the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. This is an additional surcharge applied to higher income earners and uses the income reported on your taxes from two years prior to determine your IRMAA surcharge. 

The chart below breaks down the IRMAA amount for each income bracket.

Medicare Part D IRMAA
2019 Individual tax return 2019 Joint tax return 2019 Married and separate tax return 2021 Part D monthly premium

$88,000 or less

$176,000 or less

$88,000 or less

Your plan premium

More than $88,000 and up to $111,000

More than $176,000 and up to $222,000

N/A

$12.30 + your plan premium

More than $111,000 up to $138,000

More than $222,000 up to $276,000

N/A

$31.80 + your plan premium

More than $138,000 up to $165,000

More than $276,000 up to $330,000

N/A

$51.20 + your plan premium

More than $165,000 up to $500,000

More than $330,000 up to $750,000

More than $88,000 up to $412,000

$70.70 + your plan premium

More than or equal to $500,000

More than or equal to $750,000

More than or equal to $412,000

$77.10 + your plan premium

Be Sure to Avoid the Part D Late Enrollment Penalty

If you go 63 consecutive days after your Initial Enrollment Period (when you first become eligible for Medicare, typically the seven months around your 65th birthday) without maintaining creditable drug coverage, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you decide to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan later.

Medicare defines creditable drug coverage as any insurance plan that pays roughly at least as much as Medicare to cover your prescription drug costs.

The Part D late enrollment penalty is not just a one-time penalty. You will need to pay it every month for as long as you remain enrolled in a Part D plan. 

The late enrollment penalty is 1% of the national base beneficiary premium for every month that you did not have creditable drug coverage but were eligible for Medicare Part D. The national base beneficiary premium is $33.37 in 2022.

Use Medicare Star Ratings to Compare Plans

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. The CMS rates the quality of all Medicare Part D plans according to various quality metrics such as customer satisfaction and benefit accessibility. 

A plan with a higher quality rating may be able to use that as leverage to charge a higher premium, but higher star ratings doesn’t necessarily always correlate with higher costs.

You Can Consider Medicare Advantage Plans With Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D can come in the form of a standalone plan (often called a PDP) or as part of a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan. Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover everything covered by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), and most plans also offer extra benefits such as coverage for dental, vision, hearing and other services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage as an added benefit. These plans are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, or MA-PD. The average cost of these plans is on par with standalone Part D plans, and many MA-PD plans are available for a $0 premium. 

Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs in Your Area

You can gather Medicare Part D costs in your area online or by calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent. Once you review the available plans and related costs in your area, you can enroll in the plan of your choosing in as little as 10 minutes. 

  1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2021, from https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare.

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