Skip Navigation

How to get drug coverage

Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to everyone with Medicare. If you decide not to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) when you're first eligible, and you don't have other creditable prescription drug coverage, or you don't get Extra Help, you'll likely pay a late enrollment penalty.

To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare. Each plan can vary in cost and drugs covered.

2 ways to get drug coverage

  1. Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). These plans (sometimes called "PDPs") add drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plans.
  2. Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) (like an HMO or PPO) or other Medicare health plan that offers Medicare prescription drug coverage. You get all of your Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage, and prescription drug coverage (Part D), through these plans. Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage are sometimes called “MA-PDs.” You must have Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Find a Medicare drug plan.

How to join a drug plan

Once you choose a Medicare drug plan, here's how you may be able to join:

  • Enroll on the Medicare Plan Finder or on the plan's website.
  • Complete a paper enrollment form.
  • Call the plan.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

When you join a Medicare drug plan, you'll give your Medicare number and the date your Part A and/or Part B coverage started. This information is on your Medicare card.

Joining a Medicare drug plan may affect your Medicare Advantage Plan

If your Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) includes prescription drug coverage and you join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), you'll be disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage Plan and returned to Original Medicare.