AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D 2022 Review

AARP MedicareRx prescription drug plans are insured by UnitedHealthcare and have strong member satisfaction ratings.
May 19, 2022

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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 April 2022

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. PDP Plan Directory. Accessed May 11, 2022.
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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.

Pros

Cons

  • Wide availability. You can get an AARP/UnitedHealthcare Part D plan everywhere in the United States and in several U.S. territories.

  • Strong ratings for member satisfaction. AARP/UHC plans had few complaints and small numbers of members choosing to leave the plans.

  • Minimal-cost options for generic drugs. The AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan has no copays or deductible for Tier 1 generic drugs.

  • Below-average ratings for medication management. AARP/UHC plans trailed the national average on quality measures related to making sure members are filling their prescriptions and managing their drugs.

  • MedicareRx Preferred plan is pricey. The AARP MedicareRx Preferred plan has a lot of coverage, but its average monthly premium is higher than similar high-coverage options from competitors.

Available 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 2022

:

  • AARP MedicareRx Walgreens. According to AARP/UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you’re “looking for a low premium and can fill your prescriptions at one of more than 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations.”

  • AARP MedicareRX Saver Plus. According to AARP/UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you “don't take many prescription drugs and are looking for low premiums and copays, and a broad pharmacy network.”

  • AARP MedicareRx Preferred. According to AARP/UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you’re “looking for a plan with robust drug coverage and 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

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2022 PDP Landscape Source Files (v 10 26 21): State; Organization Name; Plan Name. Accessed May 11, 2022.
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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.

Cost

AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles

Here are the 2022 premiums and deductibles for AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2022 PDP Landscape Source Files (v 10 26 21): Monthly Drug Premium. Accessed May 11, 2022.
:

Plan

Pricing

AARP MedicareRx Walgreens

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $10.40.

  • Average: $28.57.

  • Highest: $34.20.

Annual deductible: $310.

AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus

Monthly premiums: 

  • Lowest: $27.40.

  • Average: $39.38.

  • Highest: $77.90.

Annual deductible: $480.

AARP MedicareRx Preferred

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $45.50.

  • Average: $95.62.

  • Highest: $104.20.

Annual deductible:

  • 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.: $0.

  • U.S. territories: $480.

» 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

UnitedHealthcare. Complete drug list (Formulary) 2022. Accessed May 11, 2022.
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Drug tier

Description

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, and you’ll pay more for drugs listed in higher tiers.

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 plans offer $0 copays and waive deductibles for Tier 1 drugs, while higher tiers have coinsurance requirements that can quickly get more expensive. As a result, it’s important to check where your medications and pharmacies fall on each plan’s formulary.

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: 3.9

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 3.9 stars. The 2022 average for all stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from all providers, weighted by enrollment, was 3.7 stars

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Fact Sheet - 2022 Part C and D Star Ratings. Accessed May 11, 2022.
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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

:

Measure

AARP/UnitedHealthcare average

National average

Call center — foreign language interpreter and TTY availability

5 stars.

4.2 stars.

Complaints about the drug plan (a higher star rating means fewer complaints)

5 stars.

4.8 stars.

Members choosing to leave the plan (a higher star rating means fewer members choose to leave)

4.67 stars.

4.2 stars.

Drug plan quality improvement

5 stars.

4.1 stars.

Rating of drug plan

4 stars.

3.8 stars.

Measure

AARP/UnitedHealthcare average

National average

Getting needed prescription drugs

3.5 stars.

3.9 stars.

Medicare plan finder price accuracy

3 stars.

3.3 stars.

Medication adherence for diabetes medications

3.25 stars.

3.9 stars.

Medication adherence for hypertension

3.25 stars.

3.5 stars.

Medication adherence for cholesterol

3.25 stars.

3.6 stars.

Medication Therapy Management program completion rate for comprehensive medication review

1.75 stars.

3.7 stars.

Statin use in persons with diabetes

3 stars.

3.3 stars.

Third-party ratings

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

American Customer Satisfaction Index. Health Insurance. Accessed May 11, 2022.
. 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

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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.

About AARP

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.

About UnitedHealthcare

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.

Compare alternatives

Compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plan companies

Company

Average Medicare Part D star rating (2022)

3.9 stars.

3.5 stars.

3.75 stars.

3.67 stars.

3.5 stars.

3.5 stars.

Find the right Medicare Part D prescription drug plan

The interactive tool on Medicare.gov can help 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 this 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.

If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).

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