Medicare Part D Drug Benefit

Medicare is a health insurance program for:

  • people age 65 or older,
  • people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
  • people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

There are three main components to the program: Part A (hospital insurance); Part B (medical insurance); and Part D (prescription drug benefit), which was created in 2006. The addition of a Medicare drug benefit (Part D) was an unprecedented change to Medicare and brought with it the opportunity for all beneficiaries to enroll in coverage for prescription drugs. Under Part D, private insurance companies provide the coverage and beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium.

To help Americans choose the best coverage for them in terms of cost and access, and find suggestions for what to do when they experience problems getting the medications they need, the National Pharmaceutical Council, in conjunction with 11 other organizations, developed the Your Pharmacy Benefit program, which featured a website and brochures (Your Pharmacy Benefit: Make It Work for You! and What to Do If Your Medicine Isn't Covered). NPC also supported research examining issues that states and lawmakers needed to take into consideration upon enactment of the drug benefit.