AARP Medicare Part D from UnitedHealthcare 2024 Review

AARP Medicare Rx prescription drug plans are insured by UnitedHealthcare, and members have few complaints, but the plans aren't cheap.
Alex Rosenberg
By Alex Rosenberg 
Updated
Edited by Holly Carey

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Best for Member satisfaction
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D

AARP/UnitedHealthcare

3.29

CMS Star Rating

AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plans are widely available and get average quality ratings from CMS, especially for member satisfaction. Premiums can get expensive, however, and ratings for helping members with their medications aren't as strong.

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from askchapter.org

Out-of-pocket costs

Average


Member experience

2.94 (Average)


Out-of-pocket costs

Average


Member experience

2.94 (Average)


Pros

  • Available everywhere in the U.S. and in several U.S. territories.
  • Few complaints and few members choosing to leave.
  • Copays rather than coinsurance for Tier 1-3 drugs in most plans.

Cons

  • Competitors often offer cheaper plans.
  • Below-average ratings for helping members fill and manage prescriptions.
  • $0-copay options available only with the most expensive plan.

AARP Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are insured by UnitedHealthcare

. Nearly 4.1 million Medicare beneficiaries have AARP Medicare Rx Part D plans from UnitedHealthcare as of October 2023.

AARP Medicare Rx prescription drug plans are widely available and get solid ratings for quality from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

NerdWallet analysis of CMS Data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Oct 16, 2023.
. The plans' premiums can get expensive, however. And their ratings for helping members get and take their medications are below average.

Here’s what you should know about AARP Medicare Part D prescription drug plans from UnitedHealthcare.

AARP Medicare Part D pros and cons

Medicare prescription drug plans from AARP and UnitedHealthcare have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Wide Availability: You can get an AARP Part D plan from UnitedHealthcare everywhere in the U.S. and in several U.S. territories.

Few coinsurance requirements: You'll pay copays rather than coinsurance for drugs on Tiers 1-3 in most AARP Medicare Rx plans.

Member satisfaction: AARP Medicare Part D plans had few complaints and small numbers of members choosing to leave the plans.

Cons

Pricey premiums: Other companies often offer lower prices, and the Medicare Rx Walgreens plan is much more expensive in 2024.

Below-average medication management: AARP Medicare Rx plans get below-average ratings for helping members fill their prescriptions and manage their drugs.

Few $0-copay options: Only the most expensive AARP Medicare Rx plan has any $0-copay options.

AARP and UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D star ratings

Average Part D star rating, weighted by enrollment: 3.29 stars

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rates Medicare Part D plans on 12 quality measures

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare 2024 Part C & D Star Ratings Technical Notes. Accessed Oct 16, 2023.
. (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 Medicare Part D plans from UnitedHealthcare get an average of 3.29 stars, weighted by enrollment when the ratings were released

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Oct 16, 2023.
. The 2024 average for all stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from all providers, weighted by enrollment, was 3.11 stars.

AARP 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 four AARP Medicare Rx Part D prescription drug plan options available from UnitedHealthcare in 2024, but in any given location, you'll be able to choose between up to three options (never all four)

.

Two plans are available nationally:

  • AARP Medicare Rx Walgreens from UHC. According to AARP and UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you fill your prescriptions primary at Walgreens.

  • AARP Medicare Rx Preferred from UHC. According to AARP and UnitedHealthcare, this plan is a good fit if you “want our most extensive drug coverage and access to a broad pharmacy network.”

The other two plans serve different sets of states:

  • AARP Medicare Rx Saver from UHC. Available in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

  • AARP Medicare Rx Basic from UHC. Available in 30 states.

According to AARP and UnitedHealthcare, the Basic and Saver plans are best for people who receive Extra Help, a subsidy that helps Medicare beneficiaries with limited income afford their prescription drugs. Those plans replace last year's AARP Medicare Rx Saver Plus plan, which had been available in all states.

AARP Medicare Part D cost

AARP and UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles

Average premiums for the Walgreens plan have gone up significantly since 2023, and the deductible has gone up to meet 2024’s maximum that plans are allowed to charge.

Average premiums for the Preferred plan have gone down slightly since 2023, and it still has a $0 deductible in most locations, but the deductible in U.S. territories has gone up.

(The Basic and Saver plans are new this year.)

Here are the 2024 premiums and deductibles for AARP’s stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CY2024_Landscape_Files_Final_20231005 (ZIP). Accessed Oct 19, 2023.
:

Plan

Pricing

AARP Medicare Rx Walgreens from UHC

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $36.

  • Average: $58.70.

  • Highest: $80.40.

Annual deductible: $410.

AARP Medicare Rx Preferred from UHC

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $43.50.

  • Average: $100.69.

  • Highest: $123.90.

Annual deductible:

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

  • U.S. territories: $545.

AARP Medicare Rx Basic from UHC

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $31.10.

  • Average: $40.85.

  • Highest: $68.40.

Annual deductible: $545.

AARP Medicare Rx Saver from UHC

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $51.80.

  • Average: $70.79.

  • Highest: $93.10.

Annual deductible: $545.

» If you're concerned about affording Medicare Part D, look into Medicare Extra Help.

AARP 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 Medicare Part D plans from UnitedHealthcare use a five-tier formulary:

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. 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 Medicare Rx 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.

$0-deductible options

Some AARP Medicare Part D plans waive the deductible for drugs on certain formulary tiers:

The $545 deductible applies to drugs on all tiers for both the Medicare Rx Basic

and Saver plans.

$0-copay options

AARP Medicare Part D plans have relatively few $0-copay options in 2024.

The Medicare Rx 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.

There are no $0-copay tiers for the Medicare Rx Walgreens, Basic or Saver plans.

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.

For 2024, AARP Medicare Rx plans start requiring coinsurance rather than copays at Tier 3 or Tier 4, depending on the plan. The Walgreens, Preferred and Saver plans have copays for Tiers 1-3 and coinsurance for Tiers 4-5. The Basic plan is different. It has copays for Tiers 1-2 and coinsurance for Tiers 3-5.

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.

Third-party ratings for AARP Medicare Part D plans from UnitedHealthcare

American Customer Satisfaction Index: 78 out of 100

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (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 2023, UnitedHealthcare scored 78 out of 100 on the ACSI health insurance satisfaction benchmark

American Customer Satisfaction Index. Health Insurance. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
. 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 82 and the health insurance industry average was 76.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+

AM Best is a credit rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry. In December 2022, AM Best affirmed its Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) for the companies 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 Medicare Part D service area

Stand-alone AARP Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are available from UnitedHealthcare 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. CY2024_Landscape_Files_Final_20231005 (ZIP). Accessed Oct 19, 2023.
.

All U.S. states and Washington, D.C., have three AARP Medicare Rx plan choices: the Preferred plan, the Walgreens plan, and either the Basic or the Saver plan (but not both). Only the AARP Medicare Rx Preferred plan is available in the U.S. territories.

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.

Read the NerdWallet reviews of these other UnitedHealthcare and AARP Medicare offerings:

Compare alternatives

Compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plan companies

Company

Average stand-alone Medicare Part D star rating, weighted by enrollment (2024)

3.29 stars.

3 stars.

2.69 stars.

3 stars.

1.5 stars.

3.5 stars.

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.

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

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Part D Plans

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