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How will the Inflation Reduction Act affect Medicare enrollees?
Under the new law, Medicare beneficiaries will see a series of prescription drug-pricing provisions phased in – mostly over the next several years
8 ways to cut your prescription drug costs
But prescription drugs – and drug coverage – can be less expensive if you're willing to do a little research and to reach out for help. Here are eight strategies that will empower you to take control of your drug coverage and your medication costs.
Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage
Medicare Part D subsidizes the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollees select Part D coverage by enrolling in either a prescription drug plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD).
prescription drug plan (PDP)
A prescription drug plan (PDP) – or "stand-alone prescription drug plan" – is one of two main ways that Medicare beneficiaries can purchase coverage that subsidizes the costs of prescription drugs. A PDP can be purchased by a beneficiary with Original Medicare or Medigap coverage and – in some cases by Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries who don't have a prescription drug benefit included in their MA plan. An MA plan that does include the benefit is known as as a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (MAPD).
A stand-alone prescription drug plan is another term for a Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).
A PDP is often referred to as a “stand-alone prescription drug plan” because it is separate prescription drug coverage that Medicare beneficiaries can purchase – through private insurers – usually to supplement Original Medicare.
Most Medicare Advantage plans include Part D benefits and that type of coverage is know as a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (MAPD).
Some Medicare Advantage plans cover medical services (i.e., Part A and B benefits) but not prescription drugs. Beneficiaries are not allowed to supplement one of these plans with a stand-alone PDP. Instead, beneficiaries needing prescription drug coverage can enroll in an MAPD.
As of 2019, about 46 percent of Part D enrollees were enrolled in a PDP while another 39 percent had an MAPD.
Read our overview of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.