Aetna Medicare Part D 2023 Review

Aetna offers low Medicare Part D premiums, but other costs like copays, coinsurance and deductibles are higher than those of some competitors.
Alex Rosenberg
By Alex Rosenberg 
Edited by Dawnielle Robinson-Walker

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Aetna has more Medicare Part D members than any other company

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. PDP Plan Directory. Accessed Oct 18, 2022.
. About 6.1 million Medicare beneficiaries have Aetna Part D plans as of October 2022.

Aetna is a CVS Health company, and it sells prescription drug plans under the SilverScript brand name. Its Part D premiums are among the lowest on the market, but other costs like copays and coinsurance can add up quickly.

Here’s what you should know about Aetna Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

Aetna Medicare Part D pros and cons

Medicare prescription drug plans from Aetna have advantages and disadvantages.



  • Low premiums. Aetna’s SilverScript SmartSaver plan has the lowest average monthly premium on the market.

  • Identical cost sharing for retail and mail-order pharmacies. You can choose to get drugs in person or by mail without any cost implications.

  • Quality improvement. Aetna significantly outperformed the national average on CMS’ measure of year-over-year quality improvement.

  • Cost sharing might outweigh low premiums. The SilverScript SmartSaver plan has low premiums, but it has higher copays and coinsurance than some competing plans.

  • Poor medication management. Aetna underperformed on quality measures related to helping members get and properly take their medications.

  • Choice plan deductible. The SilverScript Choice plan used to have no deductible for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs, but now the deductible applies to all covered drugs.

Aetna 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.

Aetna offers three stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans for 2023


  • SilverScript SmartSaver (formerly SmartRx): Aetna highlights this plan’s low premiums, $0 deductible and $2 copays for Tier 1 generic drugs and $10 copays for certain insulins.

  • SilverScript Choice: Aetna highlights this plan’s $2 copay for Tier 1 generic drugs.

  • SilverScript Plus: Aetna highlights this plan’s $0 deductible, $0 copays for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs and coverage of more drugs, vitamins and supplements.

Aetna Medicare Part D service area

Stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans from Aetna are available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 PDP Landscape Source File (v 09 06 2022): State; Organization Name; Plan Name. Accessed Oct 18, 2022.

Aetna offers all three of its Medicare Part D plan options in all of its markets.

Aetna Medicare Part D Cost

Aetna Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles

For 2023, the SilverScript SmartSaver plan has premiums a little more than a dollar cheaper than the 2022 version. Premiums for the SilverScript Choice plan are about $3 higher in 2023, and premiums for the SilverScript Plus plan are about $6 higher in 2023.

Here are the 2023 premiums and deductibles for Aetna’s stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 PDP Landscape Source File (v 09 06 2022): Monthly Drug Premium. Accessed Oct 18, 2022.



SilverScript SmartSaver

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $1.60.

  • Average: $5.75.

  • Highest: $10.90.

Annual deductible: $505.

SilverScript Choice

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $24.30.

  • Average: $34.34.

  • Highest: $40.70.

Annual deductible: $505.

SilverScript Plus

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $67.90.

  • Average: $75.70.

  • Highest: $105.20.

Annual deductible: $0.

» If you have concerns about affording Medicare Part D, look into Medicare Extra Help.

Aetna 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.

Aetna’s Medicare prescription drug plans use a five-tier formulary

Aetna. Check Our Formulary. Accessed Oct 18, 2022.

Drug tier


Tier 1: Preferred generic

Common, lower-cost generic drugs.

Tier 2: Generic

Higher-cost generic drugs and certain brand-name diabetes drugs.

Tier 3: Preferred brand

Common, lower-cost brand-name drugs, certain insulins and some more expensive generic drugs.

Tier 4: Non-preferred drug

Higher-cost brand-name drugs and generic drugs for which a cheaper alternative is available.

Tier 5: Specialty tier

High-cost drugs that meet Medicare’s definition of a specialty drug.

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.

The drugs included in tiers and what you’ll pay for each tier depend on your choice of prescription drug plan and what kind of pharmacy you use. For example, Aetna plans often have lower copays for prescriptions from preferred (in-network) pharmacies. Unlike some other companies, however, Aetna doesn’t have different cost-sharing requirements for retail and mail-order pharmacies.

$0-deductible options

Two of Aetna’s Medicare Part D plans have a $0 deductible for certain covered drugs:

  • SilverScript SmartSaver: $0 deductible for Tier 1 (preferred generic) drugs. The deductible is $505 for Tier 2-5 drugs.

  • SilverScript Plus: $0 deductible for all covered drugs.

The SilverScript Choice plan used to have a $0 deductible for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs, but for 2023, its $505 deductible applies to all tiers.

$0-copay options

The high-end SilverScript Plus plan has $0 copays for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs. It’s the only stand-alone Aetna Medicare Part D plan with $0 copays for certain tiers in 2023. The SilverScript SmartSaver and SilverScript Choice plans both have $2 copays for Tier 1 drugs.

Copays and coinsurance for drugs on higher tiers can quickly get more expensive. As a result, it’s important to check where your medications and pharmacies fall on each plan’s formulary.

Coinsurance vs. copay 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 more unpredictable and more expensive.

Aetna starts requiring coinsurance rather than copays at either Tier 3 or Tier 4, depending on the plan:

  • SilverScript SmartSaver: Copays for Tiers 1-2; coinsurance for Tiers 3-5.

  • SilverScript Choice: Copays for Tiers 1-2; coinsurance for Tiers 3-5.

  • SilverScript Plus: Copays for Tiers 1-3; coinsurance for Tiers 4-5.

🤓Nerdy Tip

In 2022, the low-premium SmartRx plan had copays for Tier 3 drugs. The SmartSaver plan that replaces SmartRx for 2023 has coinsurance for Tier 3, instead. Depending on your medications, the change could make a significant difference in what you’d pay out of pocket with this plan.

You can enter your medications and pharmacy information on Aetna’s website to see which drugs are covered and review your estimated costs with different plan options.

Aetna Medicare Part D star ratings

Average Part D star rating, weighted by enrollment: 3.5 stars

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, 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 Aetna prescription drug plans get an overall rating of 3.5 stars. The 2023 average for all stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from all providers, weighted by enrollment, was 3.25 stars

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 Medicare Star Ratings Fact Sheet. Accessed Oct 18, 2022.

Compare Aetna Part D star ratings

Stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from Aetna outperformed the national average on four Part D measures, tied the average on one measure and fell behind the national average on the remaining seven measures

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 Star Ratings Data Table - Measure Stars (Oct 04 2022). Accessed Oct 18, 2022.

Here’s how stand-alone Aetna prescription drug plans compared with national averages for each of the 12 Part D measures



Aetna's rating

National average

Call center – foreign language interpreter and TTY availability

5 stars.

4.1 stars.

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

5 stars.

4.4 stars.

Drug plan quality improvement

4 stars.

2.2 stars.

Medication adherence for diabetes medications

3 stars.

2.9 stars.

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

4 stars.

4 stars.


Aetna's rating

National average

Rating of drug plan

2 stars.

3.3 stars.

Getting needed prescription drugs

2 stars.

3.5 stars.

Medicare plan finder price accuracy

3 stars.

3.5 stars.

Medication adherence for hypertension

2 stars.

2.7 stars.

Medication adherence for cholesterol

2 stars.

3.1 stars.

Medication Therapy Management program completion rate for comprehensive medication review

1 star.

3.1 stars.

Statin use in persons with diabetes

2 stars.

2.9 stars.

Third-party ratings for Aetna Medicare Part D plans

American Customer Satisfaction Index: 73 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, Aetna scored 73 out of 100 on the ACSI health insurance satisfaction benchmark

American Customer Satisfaction Index. Health Insurance. Accessed Oct 18, 2022.
. ACSI measures satisfaction with the health insurance industry as a whole — Aetna’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 affirmed its Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) for Aetna Life Insurance Company and the other members of Aetna Health & Life Group that are wholly owned subsidiaries of CVS Health


An A rating in this category indicates that AM Best believes Aetna has an excellent ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations.

About Aetna

Aetna was founded in 1853 in Hartford, Connecticut, and the insurer became a subsidiary of CVS Health in 2018. The company’s headquarters are still in Hartford.

Aetna’s health insurance offerings include medical, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health. Aetna offers both individual and group health insurance, including Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance. As of June 2022, Aetna covers almost 10.6 million Medicare members in the U.S.

CVS Health posted annual revenues of $292.1 billion in 2021.

Read the NerdWallet reviews of these other Aetna Medicare offerings:

Compare Alternatives

Compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plan companies


Average stand-alone Medicare Part D star rating, weighted by enrollment (2023)

3.21 stars.

3.5 stars.

3.52 stars.

3.02 stars.

2 stars.

3 stars.

Find the right Medicare Part D prescription drug plan

The interactive tool on 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 or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).
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