CMS Announces 2021 Average Basic Medicare Part D Premium

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2021 Medicare Part D average basic premium. Find out what this means for Medicare prescription drug costs.

Published August 25, 2020

Premiums for Medicare Part D plans in 2021 will continue to trend in a favorable direction for consumers.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the average basic premium for a Part D plan will be roughly $30.50 per month in 2021. 

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Average Medicare prescription drug plan premiums continue to fall

Medicare Part D plans are sold by private insurers and provide coverage for prescription medications. It is one of two ways for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain Medicare drug coverage, along with enrolling in a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan that includes prescription drug coverage.

Part D premiums have been on the downswing in recent years, thanks in part to increasing enrollment and plan competition. Since 2017, Part D plan premiums have decreased by 12 percent.

“In short, Part D premiums continue to stay at their lowest levels in years even as beneficiaries enjoy a more robust set of options from which to choose a plan that meets their needs,” - CMS Administrator Seema Verma

The 12 percent decrease in premiums since 2017 has saved Medicare beneficiaries nearly $1.9 billion. Plan D enrollment has increased by 16.7 percent during that time, as around 200 new standalone Part D plans and 1,500 additional Medicare Advantage plans with drug coverage were introduced to the market.

Part D Senior Savings Model

Earlier in the year, CMS introduced the Part D Senior Savings Model, which allows Medicare beneficiaries to choose a Part D plan that provides access to insulin with a maximum copay of $35 for a one month’s supply.

The Senior Savings Model will be implemented on January 1, 2021.

Low-cost drug plan premiums announcement comes in time for Open Enrollment

Many Medicare beneficiaries will have their opportunity to enroll in a new Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage during the upcoming fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also called AEP or the Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.

The fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period lasts from October 15 to December 7 and allows current beneficiaries the chance to sign up for, drop or change a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan. Any enrollment or disenrollment actions that beneficiaries take during AEP will become effective January 1, 2021.

You can compare Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans with drug coverage by calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent or by comparing plans online. You’ll be able to find out what types of plans are available near you, their cost, the drugs they cover and more.

If you’re eligible to enroll, you may be able to enroll in a plan online or over the phone.

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About the author

Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.

His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.

Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

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