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Medicare Part D 2018 View

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Prescription Drug Plans in 2018


During the Medicare open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7 each year, beneficiaries can enroll in a plan that provides Part D drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) as a supplement to traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (MA-PD), which provides all Medicare-covered benefits including drugs. Part D plans vary in numerous ways that can have a significant effect on an enrollee’s out-of-pocket spending, including premiums, deductibles, cost sharing, tier placement, the list of covered drugs, and preferred pharmacies.

This issue brief provides an overview of the 2018 Part D PDP landscape, the largest segment of the Part D marketplace, with 20.4 million enrollees in 2017 (excluding enrollees in employer-only PDPs, for whom plan premium and benefits data are unavailable). For detail on the data and methods, see the Methods section.