UnitedHealthcare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) Reviews

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Medicare rating: 3.5 to 4 stars A.M. Best financial strength rating: A BBB rating: A+ NCQA rating: 2.5 to 4 stars Consumer Affairs rating: 3.7 stars J.D. Power ranking: 8th out of 10

Quick UnitedHealthcare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) review: UnitedHealthcare offers prescription drug coverage through three different standalone Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) and as a bundled service in their Medicare Advantage PPO and HMO plans. Part D plans are given a separate Medicare star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), while ratings from other entities are based on UnitedHealth Group as a whole or UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage Plans.

UnitedHealthcare is one of four main providers of standalone Part D prescription drug plans in the United States. UnitedHealthcare is the nation’s largest healthcare insurance company, and their prescription drug and Medicare Advantage Plans are widely available. Monthly premium prices vary depending on where you live and the type of plan you choose. You can find plans and CMS quality rating information by searching on Medicare.gov.

UnitedHealthcare has a long-standing relationship with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a senior advocacy group. UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans include AARP in the name, but AARP membership is not a requirement to purchase a plan.

If you have Original Medicare Part A and/or B or a Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Medicare Advantage Plan, you can purchase one of UnitedHealthcare’s standalone Part D plans. If you have a UnitedHealthcare Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Medicare Advantage Plan, your plan should include drug coverage.

Pros and Cons of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D Plans

What we like about UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D Plans:  The drawbacks of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D Plans: 
  • Discounts for mail-order prescriptions
  • Three different plans to choose from with varying premium and deductible costs
  • Widely available
  • No low monthly premium plan offered for people who don’t need prescription drugs but need coverage to avoid paying a penalty for late enrollment in a Part D plan
  • Not all plans participate in the Senior Savings Model for insulin

What do UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D Plans Cover?

UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Part D plans are regulated by CMS and must cover a wide range of prescription drugs that people with Medicare take. Plans include a coverage gap that begins when you and your plan have spent a certain amount ($4,660 in 2023) on prescription drugs and ends when you’ve spent $7,400 and entered the catastrophic coverage period. You then will pay a small coinsurance percentage or copay amount for drugs you need until the end of the year. When you are in the coverage gap, you will pay up to 25% of drug costs.

UnitedHealthcare has a formulary (list of drugs) and separates drugs into tiers that correspond to costs. Lower tiers include generic, lower-cost medications, and higher tiers include higher-cost, brand name, or specialty drugs.

Your share of costs for each prescription drug may change depending on which pharmacy you choose, the tier of the drug, and when you enter each coverage phase. You must meet your annual deductible before your plan pays unless you choose a plan that covers tiers one and two without the deductible requirement. Generic drugs, mail-order drugs, and those obtained from in-network, preferred pharmacies are the least expensive.

UnitedHealthcare’s Preferred RX plan is the only one that participates in the Senior Savings Program for select insulins to keep your costs below $35/month.

What Are UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Part D Plan Options?

UnitedHealthcare offers three different Part D Plan options:

  • A basic plan (AARP MedicareRX Walgreens) with lower monthly premiums and annual deductible, and no deductible for drugs in tiers one and two. It may be best for you if you don’t need prescription drugs but need prescription drug coverage to avoid paying late penalties
  • A medium-range plan (AARP MedicareRX Saver Plus) with the highest annual deductible charge.
  • A more comprehensive plan (AARP MedicareRX Preferred) with the highest monthly premium and a zero deductible. This is the only plan that offers the Senior Savings Model for insulin.

Initial coverage limits and annual out-of-pocket threshold amounts are the same for all three plans. These options and coverage limits are similar to other carriers of Part D prescription drug coverage. The differences lie in the monthly premiums, formularies, and preferred pharmacies. All plans include generic options to help you save money.

Monthly premium costs vary, depending on your state and county. See UnitedHealthcare’s 2022 standalone Part D Plans available in Denver County, CO:

Plan name Monthly premium Annual deductible Initial Coverage Limit Annual out-of-pocket threshold amount
AARP MedicareRX Walgreens (PDP)  $30.90 $350 $4,430 $7,050
AARP MedicareRX Saver Plus (PDP) $47.20 $505 $4,430 $7,050
AARP MedicareRx Preferred (PDP) $129.10. $0 $4,430 $7,050

*Based on pricing in Denver County, CO

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D Plans Reviews and Ratings

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide separate ratings for UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. A.M. Best and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rate UnitedHealth Group company as a whole. Consumer Affairs, NCQA, and J.D. Power don’t rank UnitedHealthcare’s Part D plans separately but provide insight into UnitedHealthcare’s health and Medicare Advantage Plans.

Medicare rating: 3.5 to 4 stars UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Part D Plans have an overall average quality rating of 3.5 to 4 stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
A.M. Best financial strength rating: A A.M. Best sets credit ratings for insurers. In December 2020, A.M. Best affirmed its A Financial Strength Rating (FSR) for the majority of the health and dental insurance subsidiaries of UnitedHealth Group, collectively referred to as UnitedHealthcare. An A rating indicates UnitedHealthcare has an excellent ability to meet their financial obligations.
BBB rating: A+ UnitedHealth Group is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and has an A+ rating with 818 closed complaints in the last three years.
NCQA rating: 2.5 to 4 stars According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a leading accreditation agency, satisfaction ratings for UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage PPO and HMO plans range from 2.5 – 4.0 stars. Standalone drug plans are not rated separately, but HMO and PPO Medicare Advantage Plans usually include prescription drug coverage. The higher-rated plans are accredited through NCQA.
Consumer Affairs rating: 3.7 stars  Consumer Affairs gave UnitedHealthcare health insurance 3.7 out of 5 stars based on 1,222 ratings within the last year. Consumer Affairs does not provide UnitedHealthcare’s Part D plans with a separate rating, but many of their Medicare Advantage Plans include drug coverage.
J.D. Power ranking: 8th out of 10 In its 2021 Medicare Advantage Study, J.D. Power measured Medicare Advantage Plan satisfaction based on these important factors: coverage, benefits, provider choice, cost, customer service, information, communication, billing, and payment. UnitedHealthcare scored 795 points out of 1,000, coming in eighth out of the top 10 Medicare Advantage providers.
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Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

As a health care professional since 1987, Kelly Blackwell has walked alongside and cared for seniors as they journey through the season of their fourth quarter of life. Blackwell holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Northern Colorado, a Master of Science in health care administration from Grand Canyon University, an interprofessional graduate certificate in palliative care from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and holds a Certified Senior Advisor® credential from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

Blackwell contributes to the University of Colorado-Anschutz blog and has been published in “The Human Touch” distributed by the University of Colorado Center for Bioethics and Humanities. She cowrote “Dying Is” for Pathways Hospice.

A registered nurse, Blackwell understands health insurance choices influence quality of life and are driven by values, goals, and beliefs. She’s passionate about engaging with, educating, and empowering seniors as they navigate the health care system. She’s equipped to lend an experienced, compassionate voice to beneficiaries seeking information about Medicare Advantage Plans.

As a CSA®, Blackwell has access to valuable resources for Medicare beneficiaries. Her work as a bedside nurse and clinical manager has given her the opportunity to see how Medicare rules, regulations, and benefits work when patients need them. With a passion to learn and to make a difference in the lives of seniors, Blackwell supports seniors through Medicare and fourth-quarter life decisions.

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