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Table of Contents
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D pros and cons
- Available Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D service area
- AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D star ratings
- Third-party ratings
- About AARP
- About UnitedHealthcare
- Compare alternatives
- Find the right Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
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.
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.
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.
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 premiums and deductibles
Here are the 2022 premiums and deductibles for AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans:
AARP MedicareRx Walgreens
Annual deductible: $310.
AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus
Annual deductible: $480.
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, 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.
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:
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.
Compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plan companies
Average Medicare Part D star rating (2022)
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).