Wellcare Medicare Part D 2024 Review

Wellcare Part D plans have low prices, and their quality ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have improved significantly.
Alex Rosenberg
By Alex Rosenberg 
Updated
Edited by Holly Carey

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Best for low premiums
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.

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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.

Wellcare is part of Centene Corp., which is the second-largest company offering Medicare Part D plans. About 4.6 million Medicare beneficiaries have Wellcare Part D plans as of October 2023

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. PDP Plan Directory. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
.

Wellcare offers the least expensive Medicare Part D plans on the market in 2024 — some with $0 premiums

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CY2024_Landscape_Files_Final_20231005 (ZIP). Accessed Oct 19, 2023.
. And while it trails competitors in some areas, Wellcare’s star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have improved since previous years.

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

Wellcare Medicare Part D pros and cons

Medicare prescription drug plans from Wellcare have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Cons

  • Low prices. Wellcare has the least expensive Part D plans on the market, on average.

  • Improved quality. Wellcare plans have much better quality ratings in 2024 than in previous years.

  • $0-deductible options. Wellcare’s low-cost Value Script plan has no deductible for drugs on formulary Tier 1 and Tier 2, and its Medicare Rx Value Plus plan has no deductible for all covered drugs.

  • Shopping and service struggles. Wellcare underperformed on quality measures related to online pricing accuracy and member complaints.

  • Coinsurance requirements. Most Wellcare plans have coinsurance rather than copays for brand-name drugs, which could get expensive.

Wellcare Medicare Part D star ratings

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

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 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 18, 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 Wellcare prescription drug plans get an average rating of 3.5 stars, weighted by enrollment when the ratings were released

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (Oct 13 2023) (ZIP). Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
. The 2024 average for all stand-alone Medicare Part D plans from all providers, weighted by enrollment, was 3.11 stars.

Wellcare 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.

Wellcare offers the following stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans for 2024:

  • Wellcare Value Script: Wellcare describes this plan as having “a low premium and $0 copays for Tier 1 prescriptions when filled at a preferred cost share pharmacy

    Wellcare. Wellcare Value Script (PDP). Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
    .”

  • Wellcare Classic: Wellcare describes this plan as “best suited to those who take only a few medications and seek a low monthly premium

    Wellcare. Wellcare Classic (PDP). Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
    .”

  • Wellcare Medicare Rx Value Plus: Wellcare describes this plan as “best suited to those who take several medications regularly and desire low copays and no deductibles

    .”

Wellcare Medicare Part D cost

Wellcare Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles

Wellcare has cut pricing for its low-cost Value Script plan, offering $0 premiums in 16 states in 2024 and premiums of less than $1 per month in all but five states.

The company’s other two Part D plans have gotten more expensive. The mid-range Classic plan costs about $4 more per month, and the higher-coverage Value Plus plan is about $8 more per month, on average.

Deductibles for the two less expensive plans have gone up by $40 to hit the maximum plans are allowed to charge in 2024, with a couple of exceptions. In Arizona and Colorado, the Value Script deductible has dropped to $400, a decrease of $105 from 2023.

The Value Plus plan retains its $0 deductible.

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

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

Plan

Pricing

Wellcare Value Script

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $0.

  • Average: 64 cents.

  • Highest: $6.30.

Annual deductible:

  • Arizona and Colorado: $400.

  • All other locations: $545.

Wellcare Classic

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $26.

  • Average: $37.26.

  • Highest: $44.50.

Annual deductible: $545.

Wellcare Medicare Rx Value Plus

Monthly premiums:

  • Lowest: $78.80.

  • Average: $79.67.

  • Highest: $91.80.

Annual deductible: $0.

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

Wellcare 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.

Wellcare prescription drug plans use a six-tier formulary

Wellcare. 2024 Summary of Benefits. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
:

Drug tier

Description

Tier 1: Preferred generic drugs

Preferred generic drugs. May include some brand-name drugs.

Tier 2: Generic drugs

Non-preferred generic drugs. May include some brand-name drugs.

Tier 3: Preferred brand drugs

Preferred brand-name drugs. May include some generic drugs.

Tier 4: Non-preferred drugs

Non-preferred brand-name drugs and certain non-preferred generic drugs.

Tier 5: Specialty tier

Generic and brand-name drugs that meet a government-defined threshold for the cost of ingredients.

Tier 6: Select care drugs

Certain generic or brand-name drugs that treat certain chronic conditions.

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. Tier 6 drugs also have relatively low copays.

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, Wellcare plans generally have the lowest copays for prescriptions you fill through preferred pharmacies, whether in-person or through the mail, while non-preferred pharmacies have higher costs

Wellcare. 2024 Summary of Benefits. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
.

$0-deductible options

The Wellcare Value Script plan has no deductible for Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs

Wellcare. 2024 Summary of Benefits. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
. It’s the only Wellcare plan for which the deductible depends on the formulary tier. The Wellcare Classic plan applies the deductible to all covered drugs, and the Wellcare Medicare Rx Value Plus plan has no deductible for drugs covered by the plan.

$0-copay options

All of Wellcare’s Part D plans have $0 copays for Tier 1 generic drugs from preferred pharmacies

Wellcare. 2024 Summary of Benefits. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
. The Classic plan also has $0 copays for Tier 6 drugs.

Cost-sharing requirements 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.

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 more unpredictable and more expensive.

Wellcare starts requiring coinsurance rather than copays at different tiers depending on your plan

Wellcare. 2024 Summary of Benefits. Accessed Oct 18, 2023.
:

  • Wellcare Value Script: Copays for Tiers 1-2 and Tier 6; coinsurance for Tiers 3-5.

  • Wellcare Classic: Copays for Tiers 1-2 and Tier 6; coinsurance for Tiers 3-5.

  • Wellcare Medicare Rx Value Plus: Copays for Tiers 1-3 and Tier 6; coinsurance for Tiers 4-5.

That’s a change since 2023 for the Value Script and Classic plans, which used to have copays rather than coinsurance for drugs on Tier 3.

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

Third-party ratings for Wellcare Medicare Part D plans

American Customer Satisfaction Index: 75 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, Wellcare’s parent company, Centene, scored 75 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 — Centene’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.

Wellcare Medicare Part D service area

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

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

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

About Wellcare

Wellcare was founded in 1985 and became a subsidiary of Centene in 2020. The company's headquarters are in Tampa, Florida. Wellcare offers coverage through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans. Centene covers more than 1.3 million Medicare Advantage members.

Centene posted total revenues of $144.5 billion in 2022.

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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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