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Changes in stand-alone Medicare Part D premiums from 2007 to 2021 - The Highs and Lows

Category: Annual Medicare Plan Changes
Published on 2020-09-27 12:06:58

Back in July 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) projected that the average 2021 basic monthly Part D premium should be around $30.50 per month - an increase of $0.50 from the 2020 projected average premium of $30.

And based on a preliminary analysis of only the 2021 stand-alone Part D plans, we found that the national average 2021 Medicare Part D premium (not considering plan enrollment) increased from $40.90 in 2020 to $41.38 in 2021, supporting the CMS projection of the monthly Medicare Part D plan premiums would increase slightly as compared the past plan-year.

However, we also found that the national average monthly 2021 Medicare Part D premium, weighted by the number of people currently enrolled in each plan, will increase to $40.70 a 8% increase over the 2020 weighted monthly premium of $37.72.

Bottom Line:  This means that many current members of 2020 Part D plans can expect to see increases in their 2021 Part D plan premiums - unless they consider moving to a lower-premium 2021 Part D plan.

You can read more about the average and average weighted national Medicare Part D premium in our article: " Sixty-seven percent of Medicare Part D beneficiaries can expect higher monthly stand-alone 2021 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums"

Please note, the average monthly premium in each state or Medicare region will vary from the national average and can be seen in our 2021 Medicare Part D plan analysis found at PDP-Facts.com (you can see state-specific summaries by clicking on your state abbreviation).

Here are a few highlights of the lowest and highest monthly Medicare Part D premiums across the country.
  • The lowest-premium 2021 stand-alone Medicare Part D plans
Hawaii has the lowest monthly premium stand-alone 2021 Medicare Part D plan.  The SilverScript SmartRx (PDP) will offer a monthly premium of $5.70 for Hawaii residents.  SilverScript will offer the same Part D plan in all other states with premiums ranging from $6.20 (in New Mexico) to $7.80 (in Oklahoma).

  • The lowest-premium 2021 stand-alone Medicare Part D plan - with a $0 deductible
The 2021 Medicare Part D plan with the lowest monthly premium - and a $0 initial deductible - is the Illinois Indy Health EliteRx (PDP) plan, with a premium of $43.30 per month.  However, the 2021 SilverScript Plus (PDP) plan is the lowest-premium $0 deductible plan in many other states with premiums ranging from $52.20 in Wisconsin to $88.60 in Oklahoma.

  • The 2021 stand-alone Medicare Part D plan with the highest-premium
The 2021 Medicare Part D plan with the highest monthly premium continues to be the BlueCross Rx Plus (PDP) in South Carolina at $205.30 as compared to last-year's premium of $191.40 per month.

The chart below shows how the low and high Medicare Part D premiums have varied over the past years.

Medicare Part D premium range - highs and lows

For more information, please see our PDP-Facts.com/2021 for Medicare Part D premium highs and lows in your state.


The annual Open Enrollment Period (or Annual Election Period) for Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D drug plans begins on October 15 and continues through December 7.

Don't forget that your Medicare plan costs and coverage can change each year - so be sure to ensure that you have chosen the most economic healthcare coverage.

If you or another Medicare beneficiary needs assistance understanding how your 2020 Medicare plan is changing in 2021 or to learn more about your 2021 Medicare plan coverage options, please call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and speak with a Medicare representative.

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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.
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  • 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.