Understanding Medigap Coverage for Prescription Drugs

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Medigap, also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, is designed to fill the gaps in Original Medicare coverage. It is offered by private insurance companies and helps cover costs such as copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance that are not fully covered by Medicare Part A and Part B. While Medigap plans offer extensive coverage, it’s essential to understand that they do not include prescription drug coverage.

Understanding Prescription Drug Coverage

To obtain prescription drug coverage, Medicare beneficiaries have two options: enrolling in a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage (also known as Medicare Part C). Medigap plans, on the other hand, do not provide coverage for prescription drugs. It is crucial to be aware of this distinction to ensure you have appropriate coverage for your medication needs.

Why Doesn’t Medigap Cover Prescription Drugs?

Medigap plans were standardized by the federal government in order to provide uniform benefits across all plans. However, due to the introduction of Medicare Part D in 2006, prescription drug coverage was removed from Medigap plans. This decision was made to avoid duplicating benefits and to streamline the coverage options available to Medicare beneficiaries.

Considerations for Prescription Drug Coverage

When considering prescription drug coverage, it’s important to evaluate your specific needs and compare the available options. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Medicare Part D: Standalone Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans cover a wide range of prescription drugs and have varying costs and formularies. It’s crucial to review the formulary to ensure your medications are covered and to compare costs, including premiums, deductibles, and copayments.
  2. Medicare Advantage: Some Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) offer prescription drug coverage, often referred to as MA-PD plans. These plans combine hospital, medical, and prescription drug coverage into a single plan. It’s essential to carefully review the plan’s formulary, network pharmacies, and associated costs.


In summary, while Medigap plans to provide comprehensive coverage for many healthcare expenses, they do not include prescription drug coverage. To obtain coverage for prescription medications, Medicare beneficiaries can explore standalone Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage. Understanding your specific needs and comparing available options is crucial in selecting the most suitable coverage for your prescription drug requirements.

Key Points:

  • Medigap plans do not cover prescription drugs and were standardized to avoid duplicating benefits.
  • Medicare beneficiaries have options for prescription drug coverage, including standalone Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Consider factors such as formularies, costs, and network pharmacies when evaluating prescription drug coverage options.

Useful Links:

  1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – Official website providing detailed information on Medicare and related programs.
  2. Medicare.gov – Official Medicare website offering comprehensive resources and tools for beneficiaries.
  3. National Council on Aging – A nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of older adults, providing valuable information on healthcare and financial assistance programs.

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