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stand-alone prescription drug plan

What is a stand-alone prescription drug plan?

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Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage

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)

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).

What is a stand-alone prescription drug plan?

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.

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