is an abbreviation for "prescription drug plan" and refers to stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. PDPs only cover prescription drugs, they do not cover health services.
is an abbreviation for "Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage". MAPDs cover both prescription drugs and health services.
If you need drug coverage, and are eligible for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B, you can enroll in a either a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP
) or Medicare Advantage plan that provides drug coverage (MAPD
), depending on whether you want drug only coverage or health and drug coverage.
A note on Medicare drug coverage and Medigap policies
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement or Medigap plan
- you can only join a PDP
for your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. You cannot use
a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD or MA) together with your Medicare Supplement. (It is illegal for someone to sell you a Medigap policy if the salesperson knows that you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan - unless your Medicare Advantage plan coverage ends before the effective date of the Medigap policy.)
A note on Medicare drug coverage and VA, TRICARE, and Employer Drug Coverage
You may already be receiving prescription drug coverage through the VA or TRICARE
- and since this coverage is considered "creditable
" (at least as good as basic Medicare Part D coverage), you do not need to join a Medicare Part D plan or you can join a Medicare Part D plan (PDP or MAPD) and use both benefits. However, if you receive employer drug coverage
that is considered "creditable" (ask your employer health plan administrator whether your drug plan is creditable
), you probably cannot join a Medicare Part D plan
and also keep your employer coverage. In fact, if you join a Medicare Part D plan, you probably will lose all of your employer health plan coverage (not just drug coverage) - so ask your employer plan before enrolling in a PDP or MAPD.
What is a Medicare drug plan?
In general, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
provide insurance coverage for your prescription drugs - just like other
types of insurance. So like any insurance, you will pay a monthly premium (unless you join a plan with a $0 premium), pay an initial deductible (unless you join a plan with a $0 deductible), and receive some form of coverage for any drugs that are on your plans drug list or formulary.
As noted above, you will find that your Medicare prescription drug coverage can be provided by either:
- a "stand-alone" Medicare Part D plan (PDP ) or
- a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription coverage (MAPD).
or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan only provides drug coverage (see PDP-Finder.com
or a Medicare health plan will include Medicare Part A
(in-patient and hospital coverage), Medicare Part B
(out-patient and physician coverage), and Medicare Part D
prescription drug coverage - all for one monthly premium. Medicare Advantages plans (with and without prescription drug coverage) are also called Medicare Part C
plans. Your MAPD may also include other benefits such as fitness (Silver Sneakers), vision, hearing, and some dental coverage (see MA-Finder.com
For more information, please see our FAQ:
will I choose between a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug
plan (PDP) and a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug