Best Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans in 2024

These Medicare Part D plans stand out for member satisfaction and low premiums.
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Alex Rosenberg
By Alex Rosenberg 
Edited by Holly Carey

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Medicare Part D plans cover prescription drugs. Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Part A and/or Part B are eligible to buy a Part D plan to add prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare.

Part D plans can change each year in terms of premiums, cost sharing, coverage and government quality ratings. For 2024, Wellcare Part D has made some of the biggest changes by improving its star ratings and introducing $0-premium plans in certain locations, which no other company offers.

Each Medicare Part D plan has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best plan for you can depend on your location, finances, prescriptions and/or pharmacies you use.

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best Medicare Part D plans for 2024.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Many Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C plans, offer prescription drug coverage, so generally only Original Medicare members need to shop for a separate Part D plan. You can’t combine most types of Medicare Advantage plans with a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan. You can, however, buy a Part D plan if you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan that doesn’t cover prescription drugs

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. How to Get Prescription Drug Coverage. Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
.

Best Medicare Part D plans

Unlike Medicare Part A and Part B, Part D plans are sold by private insurance companies, and the plans’ costs, benefits and other features can vary significantly. It’s important to confirm whether a plan covers your prescription drugs, then you’ll want to consider each plan’s strengths and weaknesses.

NerdWallet compares and chooses the best Medicare Part D plans based on factors including quality ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), prices, cost-sharing requirements, formulary design and more.

Insurance company
CMS Star Rating
Out-of-pocket costs
Member experience
Learn more
Best for low premiums
Wellcare Medicare Part D

Wellcare

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(800) 215-3128
3.5
3.5 /5
Varies4.0 (Above average)

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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from askchapter.org

Best for member satisfaction
AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D

UnitedHealthcare

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(800) 215-3128
3.28
3.28 /5
Average2.94 (Average)

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

GET A QUOTE

from askchapter.org

Humana Medicare Part D

Humana

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(800) 215-3128
3
3 /5
Varies2.5 (Below average)

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

GET A QUOTE

from askchapter.org

Aetna Medicare Part D

Aetna

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(800) 215-3128
3
3 /5
Average2.5 (Below average)

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

GET A QUOTE

from askchapter.org

Best for low premiums: Wellcare Medicare Part D

Wellcare Medicare Part D

Wellcare

3.5

CMS Star Rating

Wellcare’s Part D plans are inexpensive, and their quality ratings have improved significantly since previous years.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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from askchapter.org

Out-of-pocket costs

Varies


Member experience

4.0 (Above average)


Out-of-pocket costs

Varies


Member experience

4.0 (Above average)


Pros

  • Low prices, and even some $0-premium plans.
  • Quality ratings are much better than in previous years.
  • Multiple $0-deductible plan options.

Cons

  • Underperformed on ratings for online pricing accuracy and member complaints.
  • Coinsurance for brand-name drugs could be pricey.

Top quality measures that outperformed the national average

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
:

  • Call center foreign language interpreter and TTY availability.

  • Getting needed prescription drugs.

  • Drug plan quality improvement.

Standout feature: Wellcare has the least expensive Medicare Part D plans on the market in 2024. In some locations, there’s even a Wellcare option with a $0 premium

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CY2024_Landscape_Files_Final_20240205. Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
.

» MORE: Read our review of Wellcare Medicare Part D insurance

Best for member satisfaction: AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D

AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D

AARP/UnitedHealthcare

3.28

CMS Star Rating

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

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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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.

Top quality measures that outperformed the national average

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
:

  • Drug plan quality improvement.

  • Call center foreign language interpreter and TTY availability.

  • Medicare plan finder price accuracy.

Standout feature: AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plans get few complaints, have few members that choose to leave and outperform several competitors on surveys about members’ experience with the plan.

Additional Medicare Part D companies

Humana Medicare Part D

Humana Medicare Part D

Humana

3

CMS Star Rating

Humana Medicare Part D plans tend to cost more than competitors' offerings, and they have average star ratings from CMS. Humana outperforms competitors on foreign language interpreter and TTY availability in call centers, but falls behind on most other quality measures.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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from askchapter.org

Out-of-pocket costs

Varies


Member experience

2.5 (Below average)


Out-of-pocket costs

Varies


Member experience

2.5 (Below average)


Pros

  • $0 deductibles are available for drugs on multiple tiers with some plans.
  • Highest ratings for foreign language interpreter and TTY availability in call centers.

Cons

  • Prices tend to be higher than what competitors offer.
  • Below-average ratings on 9 out of 12 Part D quality measures.

Top quality measures that outperformed the national average

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
:

  • Call center foreign language interpreter and TTY availability.

  • Few complaints about the drug plan.

  • Drug plan quality improvement.

Summary for 2024: Humana gets middle-of-the-road star ratings for its Medicare Part D plans in 2024. Prices are generally on the high side, but they can vary between states. Humana’s call center got top ratings for foreign language interpreter and TTY availability, so it could be a good option for members who might need those services.

» MORE: Read our review of Humana Medicare Part D insurance

Aetna Medicare Part D

Aetna Medicare Part D

Aetna

3

CMS Star Rating

Aetna no longer has the lowest Part D premiums on the market (that's Wellcare for 2024), but its prices are still lower than most, and some of its out-of-pocket costs have come down. The company gets average star ratings from CMS.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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from askchapter.org

Out-of-pocket costs

Average


Member experience

2.5 (Below average)


Out-of-pocket costs

Average


Member experience

2.5 (Below average)


Pros

  • Premiums are lower than most competitors.
  • Identical cost-sharing for in-person and mail-order prescription fills.
  • The SmartSaver plan has a lower deductible and smaller copays than previous years.

Cons

  • No longer the cheapest on the market.
  • Weak ratings for helping members get and take medications.

Top quality measures that outperformed or tied the national average

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
:

  • Call center foreign language interpreter and TTY availability.

  • Few members choosing to leave the drug plan.

  • Medication adherence for cholesterol (statins).

Summary for 2024: Aetna’s biggest differentiator in previous years has been its rock-bottom premiums, but Wellcare undercuts Aetna’s prices in 2024. Aetna’s premiums are lower than most other competitors, though, and some of its copays and deductibles are lower than in the past. Star ratings for 2024 are average.

» MORE: Read our review of Aetna Medicare Part D insurance

Cigna Medicare Part D

Cigna Medicare Part D

Cigna

2.73

CMS Star Rating

Cigna's quality ratings from CMS are lower for 2024, and all of its 2024 plans are at least 33% more expensive than the 2023 versions. But Cigna performs well on certain measures of customer experience, and all plans still have $0-copay options for Tier 1 drugs.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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from askchapter.org

Out-of-pocket costs

Average


Member experience

3.68 (Above average)


Out-of-pocket costs

Average


Member experience

3.68 (Above average)


Pros

  • Tier 1 generic drugs are available for $0 copays with all Cigna plans.
  • Cigna beats the industry average on the quality measures CMS uses to evaluate member experience.

Cons

  • Prices are significantly higher for all of Cigna's 2024 plans, and more drugs have coinsurance rather than copays.
  • Lowest copays might require ordering 90-day supplies by mail.

Top quality measures that outperformed or tied the national average

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Mar 13, 2024.
:

  • Medicare plan finder price accuracy.

  • Rating of drug plan.

  • Medication adherence for cholesterol (statins).

Summary for 2024: All of Cigna’s Medicare Part D plans are significantly more expensive in 2024, and their quality ratings from CMS have declined. But they beat many competitors on certain measures of member experience, and $0-copay options for Tier 1 generic drugs could be attractive.

» MORE: Read our review of Cigna Medicare Part D insurance

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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