Do Medicare supplement plans include prescription drug coverage?

  • February 28, 2015

Q: Do Medicare supplement plans include prescription drug coverage?

A: No.  Medigap – Medicare supplement – plans do not include prescription drug benefits. Medicare offers separate prescription drug coverage plans. Medicare enrollees can get prescription coverage either by switching to a Medicare Advantage plan (most of them include prescription coverage) or by purchasing Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan, or PPD) to go along with Original Medicare.

However, if you purchased a Medigap policy prior to January 1, 2006 and still have the same plan, your plan may include prescription drug coverage, and you can continue to keep that coverage. If you’re in this situation and you want to join a PDP, you must drop the prescription drug coverage from your Medigap since you can’t have two separate prescription drug coverage policies at the same time.

And although there was a guaranteed issue period for people with pre-2006 Medigap plans to switch to a new Medigap plan and a PPD, if you’re doing that now you’ll probably have to go through medical underwriting for the Medigap plan (unless you qualify for a special enrollment period), and pay a late enrollment penalty for the PDP.