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PDP-Compare Tutorial

This tutorial explains how to search and compare Medicare Part D plans using PDP-Compare.




One-Click Comparison

PDP-Compare offers what we call a One-Click Comparison of Medicare Part D Plans. By simply selecting your state and clicking on the Search button, you can compare:
  • Plan Quality Ratings,
  • Premium,
  • Deductible,
  • Type of Coverage during the Doughnut Hole,
  • $0 Qualification for Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) Recipients
  • Cost Sharing - Copayments, Co-insurance, and
  • Popularity (Past Enrollment Figures)


How to Search using PDP-Compare

PDP-Compare Search Criteria

Each State offers 50 or more Medicare Part D plans. Sometimes it helps to reduce the number of plans that you want to compare. This section explains the search and sort options in PDP-Compare. The Search Criteria are divided into three areas:
  • Those applying to the plan independent of the plan year
  • Criteria to be used against the 2007 plans
  • Criteria to be used against the 2008 plans


Criteria that are used independent of the plan year include:
  • State - this is a required field. You must select a state.
  • Partial Plan Name - If you are only interested in certain plans, ex: AARP, enter the any part of the plan name in this field examples: AA or AARP, AR would not only include the AARP plans but would also include Aetna Medicare Rx plans and many others.
  • Sort Results by - Premiums, Plan name, Plan rating, Popularity (Enrollment)


Criteria that apply to a particular plan year must be entered in the appropriate column for the year (2007 or 2008) the search criteria include:
  • Maximum Premium - Which plans under $20 in 2007 are still under $20 in 2008? - enter 20 in the 2007 column and 20 in the 2008 column (Answer: in Arizona, only 4 of the 6 plans under $20 in 2007 are still under $20 in 2008
  • Maximum Deductible - is used just as maximum premium is above.
  • Type of Gap Coverage - 2007 offered different levels of coverage in the Coverage Gap (Doughnut Hole) than 2008 select an option in the appropriate column 2007 or 2008.
  • Full Low-Income Subsidy? - Choose one of the three options: Yes, show only plans that qualify, No, I receive no or only partial extra help, or Only show Plans that DO NOT qualify for $0 Premium. This option is used if you would like to see only plans which changed their qualification status. Example: select Yes... in the 2007 column and Only show Plans that DO NOT qualify ... in the 2008 column. You will see that in Arizona, 3 plans no longer qualify for the LIS $0 Premium status. Switch the 2007 and 2008 criteria to see that one plan qualifies in 2008 that did not qualify in 2007.


Example 1: Changes in Current Plan

Example 1: Changes in Current Plan

In this example our New York beneficiary wants to see what changes they can expect in their current plan. We have selected New York as our state. Note that State is the only field that must be entered prior to a search. Since the beneficiary is only interested in Humana Plans, we can narrow down the comparison by entering Humana or even Hum in the Partial Plan Name field. We have left the Full Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) field set to No... so that we will see plans which qualify and also those that do not qualify. Then click on Search

The comparison of the three Humana plans (Standard, Enhanced, and Complete) is shown and is shown for both 2007 and 2008. Our beneficiary can quickly see that the 2007 Humana Standard plan which qualified for the LIS $0 premium last year no longer qualifies in 2008. They can also see that the 2008 Enhanced plan is less expensive than its 2007 counterpart. Also, they can see that in 2007, 110,347 people enrolled in the Standard plan in New York and only 20,931 enrolled in the Enhanced plan. Note that the CMS Quality Ratings are the same for all three plans. The CMS Ratings are reported by company, not plan.


Example 2: 2007 Plan no longer offered in 2008

Example 2: 2007 Plan no longer offered in 2008

This California beneficiary wants to see the changes in their Sierra Plus plan. They enter California in the State field (which is a required field) and since they only want to see Sierra plans, they enter Sierra in the Partial Plan Name field. They can leave the rest of the search fields empty and then click on Search.

The comparison of the three Sierra plans is shown for both 2007 and 2008. Our beneficiary can quickly see that the 2007 SierraRx plan and SierraRx Basic plan have not changed drastically for 2008. The SierraRx Plus plan from 2007 which had All Formulary Drugs covered, is no longer offered in 2008. Members of this plan will be automatically enrolled in a different Sierra plan unless they choose a new plan for themselves.

Our California beneficiary can see the CMS Quality Rating for the Sierra along with plan features and cost sharing information. Also, they can see that in 2007, 144,443 people across the country enrolled in the SierraRx plan in 2007 with 111,549 people California.


Example 3: Change in Plan Coverage from 2007 to 2008

Example 3: Change in Plan Coverage from 2007 to 2008

In this example our New York beneficiary wants to see what changes they can expect in their current plan. We have selected New York as our state. Note that State is the only field that must be entered prior to a search. Since the beneficiary is only interested in UnitedHealth Rx Plans, we can narrow down the comparison by entering United in the Partial Plan Name field. We have left all other criterien fields empty. Then click on Search

The comparison of the two UnitedHealth Rx plans is shown for both 2007 and 2008. Our beneficiary can see that the 2007 UnitedHealth Rx Extended plan is now the UnitedHealth Value plan in 2008. They can see that if the stay with their plan for 2008, they will now have a $275 deductible (in 2007 the Extended plan had a $0 deductible). and their premium will be reduced. The UnitedHealth Rx CMS Ratings are shown. Also shown is the Plan ID (a code that uniquely identifies the plan) and the 2007 enrollment figures for each plan.


Example 4: Advanced Search - Comparing Plans from Different Companies.

Example 4: Advanced Search - Comparing Plans from Different Companies.

Our Arizona beneficiary wants to find a medium priced Medicare Part D plan and wishes to compare plans across different companies. Since there are 58 plans in Arizona, this comparison list could be a bit cumbersome. Our beneficiary does not want to spend more than $28 per month and does not want to pay a deductible.

This type of search is done by first selecting the State Arizona, and then entering our value 28 in the Maximum Premium field in the 2008 column and 0 in the Maximum Deductible field in the 2008 column. Since we and a medium priced plan and have entered our max, lets let the low priced plan fall to the bottom of the list by selecting 2008 Premium Highest to Lowest in the Sort Results by field. Then click on Search

Our comparison is reduced to only 9 plans rather than 58.

We can quickly compare the CMS Quality Rating, Premiums, Copays and Coinsurance, and even Plan Popularity across these plans. We can even see the individual plan changes from 2007 to 2008.


Advanced Search in California

Example 5: Advanced Search - Premium increases in California

In this example our California beneficiary wants to see the changes in the most inexpensive Medicare Part D plans. We enter California in the State field, 10 in the 2007 Maximum Premium field, 265 in the 2007 Maximum Deductible field (or leave it blank since 265 is the 2007 maximum deductible. We entered 28 in the 2008 Maximum Premium field, 275 in the 2008Maximum Deductible field (or leave it blank since 275 is the 2008 maximum deductible. We changed the Sort Results by field to 2008 Premium Highest to Lowest.

Our comparison show two plans that meet our search criteria. The AARP plan increased $11.20 and no longer qualifies for the LIS $0 premium. The WellCare plan increased $9.30, still qualifies for the LIS $0 premium and for non-LIS recipients, the Deductible was decreased $15. The co-payments/co-insurance for both plans can quickly be compared to determine which plan best matches the prescription purchase patterns for the beneficiary.



Chart Key: What do all of the Chart Fields Mean?

Below is a key or legend for the PDP-Compare Comparison Chart. The same key is shown just after the PDP-Compare Chart once you click on the Search button.

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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.