United Healthcare Medicare Part D Review

Kat Casna
Licensed Insurance Agent and Medicare Expert Writer
December 12, 2019

Of the nearly 5 million people with United Healthcare Medicare plans, more than 4.5 million receive drug coverage from the company. That coverage comes in the form of a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage or a standalone Part D plan.1,2

If you’ve ever looked at AARP Medicare plans, you may not have realized that United Healthcare provides this coverage. United Healthcare also has partnerships with Walgreens and OptumRx to offer lower costs when filling your prescriptions.

Since United Healthcare serves people nationwide, there’s a good chance you’ll find coverage options in your area.

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Who might want a United Healthcare Part D plan?

  • AARP members: United Healthcare is the insurer behind AARP branded Part D plans.
  • People near a Walgreens: Shop at this preferred provider for United Healthcare’s lowest drug costs.
  • You get your medications by mail: Mail-order options for 90-day supplies are the cheapest option in some plans.

United Healthcare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

United Healthcare’s preferred pharmacies are Walgreens for retail (stores you visit physically) and OptumRx for mail order. Many beneficiaries could find it easy to save money while filling prescriptions because approximately 78% of the population lives near a Walgreens,3 and OptumRx ships nationwide. Both savings options are available in all United Healthcare plans.

Like many other Part D insurers, United Healthcare offers three types of plans:

  • AARP MedicareRx Walgreens (PDP)
  • AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP)
  • AARP MedicareRx Preferred (PDP)

Find out which tiers your medications fall into, use the United Healthcare drug cost estimator.

Sample plans based on AARPMedicarePlans.com and are for illustration purposes only. Actual plans in your area may vary. All drug prices assume the prescription is filled at a preferred retail pharmacy for a 30-day supply. Data effective 12/12/19.

United Healthcare AARP MedicareRx Walgreens (PDP)

To get the lowest-cost prescriptions with the AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan we sampled in Detroit, beneficiaries can fill them at Walgreens or OptumRx. While these pharmacies are the plan’s preferred providers, you can still fill your prescriptions elsewhere if you like.

United Healthcare separates this plan’s deductible by tier so that the plan begins paying out for Tiers 1 and 2 immediately—you don’t have to worry about meeting a deductible first.

To get help with Tier 3 through 5 drugs, however, you’ll need to first meet the annual deductible, which is usually $435. As a result, this plan could have lower overall costs for someone who takes mostly Tier 1 and 2 medications, especially if they live within easy access of a Walgreens.

United Healthcare AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP)

The AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus plan we sampled in Miami requires beneficiaries to meet a $435 deductible before coverage kicks in at any drug tier. Once again, your drug costs will be lower if you stick with preferred networks for retail and mail-order prescriptions.

Copayments for Tier 1 and 2 drugs are slightly higher than United Healthcare’s AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan. Coinsurance for Tiers 3 through 5, however, is comparable. This plan could be the right choice for people who take mostly drugs in Tiers 3 through 5 and expect to pay more than $435 annually.

United Healthcare AARP MedicareRx Preferred (PDP)

The AARP MedicareRx Preferred plan we sampled in New York comes with a $0 deductible, but it may have a higher premium than other United Healthcare prescription drug plans.

The standout feature of this plan is that using the preferred mail order pharmacy secures $0 Tier 1 and Tier 2 copayments for a 90-day supply. That’s cheaper than if you walked into a preferred retail pharmacy, which would charge you $5 or $10 for a 30-day supply of Tier 1 or Tier 2 drugs, respectively, under this plan.

If you take numerous Tier 1 and Tier 2 medications and don’t mind using OptumRx to fill them all through the mail, you could get your drugs at no additional cost after paying your premium. And for those who take numerous Tier 1 and 2 prescriptions, that savings could outweigh the premiums of this plan.

The bottom line

United Healthcare’s wide availability and the national reach of its preferred partners (Walgreens and OptumRx) could help Medicare beneficiaries save on prescriptions.

Depending on the medications you take, where you live, and your situation, United Healthcare could have a plan that works for you. Of course, choosing the right plan for your needs is half the battle.

The easiest way to find the best Medicare plan for you? Talk to one of our licensed sales agents and have them go over your options and give you a quote.

Want to learn more?

Have questions about United Healthcare or Medicare Part D? Check out these related pages.

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United Healthcare FAQ

How will United Healthcare cover my drug costs in the Part D coverage gap?

Like other insurers, United Healthcare follows the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines for the Part D coverage gap. Also called the “donut hole,” this happens after you reach your Initial Coverage Limit but before you hit your Out-of-Pocket Threshold.

In the coverage gap, all of your eligible drugs are still covered, but your share of the costs for those medications may increase. Instead of paying the plan's regular copayments and coinsurance, you’ll pay at most 25% of the cost for your prescriptions.

Some people never enter the coverage gap, however. Learn more about the Part D coverage gap to see if you’re  lucky enough to be one of them.

What does Medicare Part D cover?

Medicare Part D is a standalone prescription drug plan you can add to your existing Original Medicare (Parts A and B) coverage. The specific generic and brand-name drugs each plan covers are different, so check your plan's formulary (drug list) for your prescriptions. Part D does not include over-the-counter supplements.

When can I sign up for United Healthcare Part D plans?

You can enroll in Part D during the following periods:

  • Your Initial Enrollment Period (a seven-month period beginning three months before you become eligible for Medicare)
  • Fall Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 through December 7)
  • A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if you qualify for one

If you currently have Medicare Advantage and want to switch back to Original Medicare and Part D, you can do that during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) January 1 through March 31.


1.  Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Enrollment by Contract
2. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Part C and D Performance Data
3.  Walgreens, “Facts and FAQs

Content on this site has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the United States Government, any state Medicare agency, or any private insurance agency (collectively "Medicare System Providers"). Eligibility.com is a DBA of Clear Link Technologies, LLC and is not affiliated with any Medicare System Providers.

Kat Casna
Written by
Kat Casna
Kathryn is a Medicare and geriatric specialist who has appeared on Baby Boomers, OppLoans, and Best Company. Her readers don’t need a degree in government-speak to get the right coverage because Kathryn sifts through Medicare’s parts, plans, and premiums to distill only the most useful information. Her favorite place in the world is a hammock that swings peacefully between two crabapple trees somewhere in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest.
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