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Can I Get a Medicare Advantage Plan and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan at the Same Time?

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First, a quick rundown on what Medicare Part C and Part D refer to.

Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage, an option that provides an alternative way to get your Medicare benefits. Offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans must provide the same coverage that Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, cover — but many Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits (such as routine vision services).

Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage. These plans are known as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans.

Medicare Part D refers to prescription drug coverage that’s available as a stand-alone plan. Because Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover prescription drugs except in limited situations, you might consider enrolling in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to augment your Original Medicare coverage. These plans are available from private, Medicare-approved insurance companies.

Usually, if you have Medicare prescription drug coverage, you’re either enrolled in Original Medicare and in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.

If your Medicare Advantage plan doesn’t have prescription drug coverage, you might be allowed to add a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. But you may want to contact your Medicare Advantage plan before making any changes.

Bottom line: If your Medicare Advantage plan includes prescription drug coverage, you cannot be enrolled in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan at the same time.

You might want to consider the following options if your Medicare Advantage plan does not include prescription drug coverage:

  • Change to a different Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), and add a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.

You cannot add or drop Medicare plans anytime; you can do this only during certain time periods. For more information, see Medicare Enrollment: How and when to enroll in Medicare.


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