Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage. Plans that do not offer drug coverage are commonly referred to as MA plans while those that offer drug coverage are referred to as MAPD plans.
When you secure your drug coverage through an MAPD, this is a bundled approach. You typically have one ID card that is used for both medical and pharmacy.
You do not necessarily save money on medications when purchasing this bundled product.
Your drug plan is tied to your medical plan with this bundled approach. Pay close attention to your annual plan documents that you receive every fall to review both your drug formularies and plan changes for the following year.
HOW to change Drug Coverage with an MA Plan
When you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan with a drug plan “built-in” (an MAPD), you agree to keep your medical insurance bundled with your drug coverage.
There is no ability to change your drug coverage unless you are willing to change your entire Medicare Advantage plan.
With that being said, the video on the left will give you detailed instructions for using the Medicare.gov PlanFinder tool to see what Advantage plan may have the best coverage for the medications you are taking.
Realize that drug coverage is only part of the equation for deciding what Medicare Advantage plan may be best for you.
Finally, refer to our Medicare Advantage section titled "How Changing Medicare Advantage ACTUALLY Works" to learn how to change MA plans after finding the best one possible.
WHEN to change Drug Coverage with an MA Plan
Changing drug coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan just translates to changing your entire Medicare Advantage plan (due to the fact that the drug coverage is built into the plan as a whole).
Outside of a Special Election Period (SEP), there are 2 time periods when you can change Medicare Advantage plans (drug coverage included).
Refer to the section "Medicare's Different Enrollment Periods" to learn more about the various SEP's for Medicare Advantage plans.
Now that disclaimer is out of the way, here are the 2 times you can change Medicare Advantage drug plans:
The Annual Election Period (AEP) from October 15 - December 7th of every year.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) from January 1st - March 31st of every year.