Choosing the best Medicare Part D plan for your needs can be daunting. Selecting the right prescription drug coverage under Medicare requires careful consideration. With numerous options available, finding the most suitable plan for your specific needs can feel overwhelming. Whether enrolling for the first time or reviewing your current coverage during the annual open enrollment period, understanding how to choose the best Medicare Part D plan is crucial for your health and financial well-being.

Understanding Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans can vary significantly in terms of which medications they cover and the costs associated with those medications. Every Medicare plan with prescription drug coverage must include at least two medications from each of the most commonly used drug categories. For most Medicare beneficiaries, prescription drugs are a necessity. While Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) does not cover most prescription medications, you can obtain Medicare Part D coverage through private insurance companies contracted with Medicare.

When choosing a Medicare Part D plan, aim to find one that:

  • Covers all your medications at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost.
  • Provides excellent customer service.
  • Meets any other personal needs you may have.

Selecting the right plan involves evaluating the coverage details, understanding the costs, and ensuring that the plan aligns with your healthcare needs.

Why You Need Medicare Part D

Before selecting a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, it’s important to understand its necessity. Original Medicare, which includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), generally does not cover prescription medications.

Consequently, many beneficiaries opt for additional coverage through Medicare Part D to ensure their regular prescription medications are adequately covered.

Who Needs a Medicare Part D Plan?

Everyone on Medicare with Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (doctor’s bills) should have a Part D plan. If you sign up for Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you must buy a Part D plan. Roughly 20 to 30 plans are now sold in each state.

You can get Part D when you become eligible. Signing up for Part D as soon as you’re allowed is important. Otherwise, you’ll owe a late penalty, and your Part D premium will rise roughly 12% every year you put off enrolling.

How Well Does the Medicare Part D Plan Cover My Prescriptions?

When selecting a Medicare Part D plan, it’s essential to verify that your medications are included in the plan’s formulary, which is the list of covered drugs. If your medications are not covered, you must pay the total price out of pocket. The Medicare Plan Finder tool can help you compare medication costs across different plans.

Here’s how to use the Medicare Plan Finder:

  1. Enter your ZIP code.
  2. Choose “Medicare drug plan (Part D).”
  3. Input your prescriptions and dosages.

The tool will compare the cost of your medications with each plan, and you can sort the results by “Lowest drug + premium cost.”

Medicare Part D plans typically categorize drugs into four or five pricing tiers:

  1. Preferred generic medications
  2. Generics not on the preferred list
  3. Preferred brand-name drugs
  4. Other brand-name drugs
  5. High-cost specialty medications (in some plans)

Costs can vary significantly between plans, even if they cover the same medications, so it’s important to compare carefully.

Does the Plan cover My Preferred Pharmacies?

The pharmacies included in a Part D plan’s network can significantly affect your prescription costs. Many plans have preferred pharmacies that offer lower copayments. Using the Plan Finder, you can enter up to five pharmacies to see if they are preferred, standard (with higher copayments), or out-of-network (not covered). This comparison will show your out-of-pocket costs for your medications at different pharmacies, helping you choose a plan that minimizes your expenses.

What Are the Overall Costs for the Medicare Part D Plan ?

Several factors influence the total annual cost of a Part D plan, including premiums, deductibles, and copayments. In 2024, plans can charge a deductible of up to $545, though some plans have no deductible. While lower premiums might seem attractive, they can be offset by higher medication copayments.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 introduced changes to Part D, eliminating coverage caps starting in 2024. After you spend $8,000 out-of-pocket, you enter the catastrophic coverage phase and won’t incur additional costs for the rest of the year. From 2025, annual out-of-pocket expenses will be capped at $2,000, providing further financial protection.

How to Enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan?

Once you have identified the best Medicare Part D drug plan for your needs, you can enroll using one of the following methods:

  • Medicare Plan Finder: Visit the official Medicare website and use the Plan Finder tool to compare plans and enroll online.
  • Phone Enrollment: Call the Medicare help line at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) to get assistance and enroll over the phone.
  • Professional Assistance: Contact our AHIP-certified Medicare team at Skyline Benefit. We can help you choose the most suitable insurance option for you and your family.

When you switch to a new Part D plan, your previous plan will be automatically canceled once the new coverage takes effect. If you switch plans during the open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7, your new coverage will begin on January 1.

Those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage have an additional opportunity to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan during the enrollment period from January 1 to March 31.


Choosing the best Medicare Part D plan requires careful consideration of how well the plan covers your medications, the network of pharmacies, and the total annual costs. By using the Medicare Plan Finder and comparing plans based on your specific needs, you can find a plan that offers the best balance of coverage and affordability. Always review your options during the open enrollment period to ensure your plan continues to meet your needs.

Do you need help with Medicare Part D plan?

Skyline Benefit is an independent Medicare insurance broker that offers affordable and flexible Medicare options. Selecting the best Medicare insurance plans can be overwhelming; our mission is to simplify the process and help our clients every step of the way.

Schedule a consultation today. Call us at: (714) 888-5112

Medicare Online Quote