AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D 2023 Review
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Table of Contents
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D pros and cons
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D service area
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D cost
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D star ratings
- Third-party ratings for AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plans
- About AARP
- About UnitedHealthcare
- Compare alternatives
AARP Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are insured by UnitedHealthcare. More than 4 million Medicare beneficiaries have AARP/UnitedHealthcare Part D plans as of September 2022.
Medicare Part D plans from AARP/UnitedHealthcare are widely available and get solid ratings for quality from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Pricing for the highest-coverage option can get expensive, however, and the plans’ ratings for helping members with their medications are below average.
Here’s what you should know about Medicare Part D prescription drug plans from AARP and UnitedHealthcare.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D pros and cons
Medicare prescription drug plans from UnitedHealthcare have advantages and disadvantages.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
Medicare beneficiaries with Original Medicare (Part A and/or Part B) can purchase a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage. Part D plans are sold by private insurance companies. The costs and coverage can vary significantly, so it’s important to compare options.
There are three AARP/UnitedHealthcare Part D prescription drug plan options available in 2023:
AARP MedicareRx Walgreens. According to AARP/UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you “use primarily generic drugs, want a lower premium plan and fill your prescriptions at Walgreens pharmacies.”
AARP MedicareRX Saver Plus. According to AARP/UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you receive the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, also known as Medicare Extra Help.
AARP MedicareRx Preferred. According to AARP/UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you “want our most extensive drug coverage and access to a broad pharmacy network.”
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D service area
Stand-alone AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare prescription drug plans are available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
All U.S. states and Washington, D.C., have three plan choices, while only the AARP MedicareRx Preferred plan is available in the U.S. territories.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D cost
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles
Average premiums for the AARP MedicareRx Walgreens and Medicare Rx Saver Plus plans are about the same for 2023 as they were for 2022, but the deductibles have gone up. The average premium has gone up a fair amount for the AARP MedicareRx Preferred plan, which doesn’t have a deductible in most locations.
Here are the 2023 premiums and deductibles for AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans:
AARP MedicareRx Walgreens
Annual deductible: $350.
AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus
Annual deductible: $505.
AARP MedicareRx Preferred
» If you're concerned about affording Medicare Part D, look into Medicare Extra Help.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D drug formulary tiers
A formulary is a list of the prescription drugs covered by an insurance plan. The plans often organize different kinds of drugs into tiers according to the cost of the drugs.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare prescription drug plans use a five-tier formulary:
Tier 1: Preferred generic
Lower-cost, commonly used generic drugs.
Tier 2: Generic
Many generic drugs.
Tier 3: Preferred brand
Many common brand-name drugs (called preferred brands) and some higher-cost generic drugs.
Tier 4: Non-preferred drug
Non-preferred generic and non-preferred brand-name drugs.
Tier 5: Specialty tier
Unique and/or very high-cost brand and generic drugs.
Each tier has copay or coinsurance requirements. You’ll generally pay more for drugs listed in higher tiers up to Tier 4, but Tier 5 specialty drugs have a lower coinsurance requirement than Tier 4 drugs.
Which drugs are included in which tiers and what you’ll pay for each tier depends on your choice of prescription drug plan and what kind of pharmacy you use. For example, AARP/UnitedHealthcare plans have the lowest copays for retail and mail-order pharmacies in their preferred network, while you’ll pay more if you use a standard (non-preferred) pharmacy.
Some AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plans waive the deductible for drugs on certain formulary tiers:
AARP MedicareRx Walgreens: $0 deductible for Tier 1 (preferred generic) drugs. The deductible is $350 for Tier 2-5 drugs.
AARP MedicareRx Preferred: $0 deductible for all drugs in U.S. states and Washington, D.C. This plan has a deductible of $505 in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus plan’s $505 deductible applies to drugs on all tiers.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plans have relatively few $0-copay options in 2023.
The MedicareRx Preferred plan has $0 copays for a 90-day supply of drugs on Tiers 1-2 when obtained from a preferred mail-order pharmacy. Drugs from in-person pharmacies, non-preferred pharmacies or on higher tiers all have coinsurance or copay requirements.
The MedicareRx Walgreens and MedicareRx Saver Plus plans have no $0-copay options for 2023.
Copay vs. coinsurance requirements
You’ll want to check whether you’ll pay a copay or coinsurance for your medications. Copays are set dollar amounts, so it’s easy to see what you’ll pay. Coinsurance is a percentage of the price for your medications, so coinsurance requirements can be less predictable and more expensive.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare plans start requiring coinsurance rather than copays at either Tier 3 or Tier 4, depending on the plan:
AARP MedicareRx Walgreens: Copays for Tiers 1-3; coinsurance for Tiers 4-5.
AARP MedicareRX Saver Plus: Copays for Tiers 1-2; coinsurance for Tiers 3-5.
AARP MedicareRx Preferred: Copays for Tiers 1-3; coinsurance for Tiers 4-5.
You can enter your medications and pharmacy information on UnitedHealthcare’s website to see which drugs are covered and review your estimated costs with different plan options.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D star ratings
Average Part D star rating, weighted by enrollment: 3.21 stars
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rates Medicare Part D plans on 12 quality measures. (You can find definitions for each of these factors in the CMS Star Ratings Technical Notes.)
These ratings use a 5-point scale, where 5 is the best and 1 is the worst. The agency bases its ratings on drug plans’ quality of service and customer experiences, and ratings are updated annually.
Based on the most recent year of data, stand-alone AARP/UnitedHealthcare plans get an average of 3.21 stars, weighted by enrollment. The 2023 average for all stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from all providers, weighted by enrollment, was 3.25 stars.
Compare AARP/UnitedHealthcare Part D star ratings
Stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from AARP/UnitedHealthcare outperformed the national average on five Part D measures, but fell behind the national average on seven measures.
Here’s how stand-alone AARP/UnitedHealthcare plans compared to national averages for each of the 12 Part D measures:
Third-party ratings for AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plans
American Customer Satisfaction Index: 74 out of 100
The American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, rates consumer satisfaction with products and services based on a scientific model developed at the University of Michigan. Ratings are derived from surveys that measure consumers’ expectations and perceived quality and value of products and services.
In 2021, UnitedHealthcare scored 74 out of 100 on the ACSI health insurance satisfaction benchmark. ACSI measures satisfaction with the health insurance industry as a whole — UnitedHealthcare’s score represents all of its health insurance products, not just Medicare Part D insurance. For comparison, the highest score was 75 and the health insurance industry average was 73.
AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+
AM Best is a credit rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry. In December 2021, AM Best upgraded its Financial Strength Rating, or FSR, from A (Excellent) to A+ (Superior) for the majority of UnitedHealth Group subsidiaries, collectively referred to as UnitedHealthcare.
An A+ rating in this category indicates that AM Best believes the UnitedHealth Group subsidiaries have a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.
AARP is a nonprofit interest group and advocacy organization. It advocates for local, state and national policies on behalf of older Americans. AARP members can access benefits through the organization, including discounts on products and services.
UnitedHealthcare is part of UnitedHealth Group, which is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It's the largest health insurance company in the U.S. The company offers individual- and employer-based health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans, dental and vision plans, and other types of supplemental insurance. In 2021, UnitedHealthcare reported $222.9 billion in revenue.
Read the NerdWallet reviews of these other UnitedHealthcare and AARP Medicare offerings:
Compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plan companies
Average stand-alone Medicare Part D star rating, weighted by enrollment (2023)
Find the right Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
The interactive tool on Medicare.gov can help you find a Medicare Part D plan that covers your prescriptions. It also helps you compare costs among Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans available to you.
Here are some things to keep in mind when comparing plans:
Check the formulary: You’ll want to make sure the medicines you currently take and, importantly, any you think you might need in the future, are covered under each of the plans you’re considering. Talk to your health care providers about what brand-name and generic medicines to look for and any alternatives that may also work in case you can’t find your current medicines on the plans available in your area.
Look for plan changes: Formularies change frequently. Your insurer should send you a Notice of Plan Change when the formulary changes. Read that document carefully.
Check the pharmacy network: Most Medicare Part D plans negotiate with a network of pharmacies for the lowest cost. Check to see if your pharmacy or an equally convenient one is in the plan’s network. Also, compare prices for using mail order.
If your plan does change, and the change affects the prescription drugs you need, you can switch plans during Medicare's open enrollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Changes go into effect on the following Jan. 1.