Medicare Part D plans are an essential component of the Medicare coverage system. In recent years, 4,812,247 residents have enrolled in Medicare Part D in California alone. Most people enrolled in Medicare Part D follow the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD).

California Medicare Part D Plans for 2023

Medicare Part D plans are one of four parts of the Medicare coverage system. Part D covers medications prescribed to patients by a physical and distributed through a pharmacy.

Knowledge is power. Below, we talk about the Part D plans with the lowest premiums, those with zero-dollar deductibles, and those with gap coverage or low-income subsidies.

Part D Plans with the Lowest Premiums in California

California residents seeking Part D plans with the lowest premiums might choose Aetna. This plan offers the lowest premium at $7.50, with a deductible of $480.

California residents should see whether Humana is available in their areas for a Part D plan with a low premium and a high rating. Ask about the $24.20 premium and $480 deductible.

For those not eligible for Aetna Part D plans, Wellcare is a great mid-range choice. This Part D plan offers a premium of $10.90 and a deductible of $480.

PLAN PREMIUM DEDUCTIBLE STAR RATING GAP COVERAGE
Aetna $7.50 $480 3 No
Wellcare $10.90 $480 3 No
Clear Spring Health $16.00 $480 2 No
Humana $24.20 $480 4 No
Clear Spring Health $29.20 $480 2 No

Part D Plans with a Zero-dollar Deductible in California

California residents seeking the best Part D plan with a zero-dollar deductible might choose Aetna. The Aetna Part D plan also has a mid-range premium of $81.80 and gap coverage combined with the zero-dollar deductible.

For a plan with a zero-dollar deductible and the highest rating, choose the Part D plan from Anthem Blue Cross. This plan has a reasonable premium of $92.00 and virtually no deductible cost.

To get the lowest premium and a zero-dollar deductible in a Part D plan, try the plan from Wellcare. With a rock-bottom premium of $68.90 and a respectable rating, this plan is an excellent choice for California residents on a budget.

PLAN PREMIUM DEDUCTIBLE STAR RATING GAP COVERAGE
Wellcare $68.90 $0 3 No
Aetna $81.80 $0 3 Yes
Anthem Blue Cross $92.00 $0 4 No
UnitedHealthcare $102.90 $0 3 Yes
Blue Shield of California $160.20 $0 3 No

Part D Plans with Gap Coverage in California

For some California residents, Medicare gap coverage is essential. Choose a Part D plan from UnitedHealthcare to get a low premium, reasonable deductible, and gap coverage—all with a high customer rating.

Ask whether Cigna plans are available in your area for a mid-range plan with a lower deductible. The Cigna Part D plan has a premium of $71.60 and a deductible of just $100.

For the best of all worlds, choose Aetna. The company’s Part D plan offers a premium of just $81.80 in exchange for a zero-dollar deductible, good customer ratings, and gap coverage.

PLAN PREMIUM DEDUCTIBLE STAR RATING GAP COVERAGE
UnitedHealthcare $30.50 $310.00 4 Yes
Cigna $71.60 $100.00 3 Yes
Aetna $81.80 $0 3 Yes
UnitedHealthcare $102.90 $0 3 Yes

Part D Plans with a Low-Income Subsidy in California

More than 1.5 million California residents have been eligible for a low-income subsidy for a Medicare Part D plan.

For the highest-rated Part D plan with a low-income subsidy, Californians can choose the plan offered by Humana. This plan has a premium of just $32 and a deductible of $480.

Those needing a lower premium should opt for Clear Spring Health. This company’s plan offers a low premium of $29.20 with a standard deductible of $480.

For the best of all worlds, choose Aetna’s Part D plan. With a deductible of $30.60 and a high customer rating, it will meet most Medicare beneficiaries’ needs.

PLAN PREMIUM DEDUCTIBLE STAR RATING GAP COVERAGE
Clear Spring Health $29.20 $480.00 2 No
Wellcare $29.50 $480.00 3 No
Aetna $30.60 $480.00 3 No
Humana $32.00 $480.00 4 No
Elixir $32.40 $480.00 3 No

Amount of Beneficiaries that Fall into Each Part D Coverage Phase in California

Medicare Part D plans come with coverage phases, including a coverage gap known as the donut hole. During this donut hole phase, beneficiaries pay a certain percentage of all costs until catastrophic coverage kicks in. In the chart below, the numbers represent the Medicare beneficiaries that fall into each Part D plan phase.

Deductible Phase Initial Coverage Phase Coverage Gap Phase Catastrophic Phase
733,616 2,431,233 458,735 383,904

California Cities with Estimated Premiums for Supplemental Coverage

You can find charts with estimated premiums for each different type of Medigap coverage for the following cities:

FAQs

How much is Medicare Part D in California?

The price of Medicare Part D plans in California will vary based on your ZIP code, whether you qualify for a low-income subsidy, and other factors. Speak to the Medicare providers in your area to determine the cost of plans available for you.

How do I apply for Medicare Part D in California?

Medicare Part D plans have limited Initial Enrollment Periods, typically around seven months after becoming eligible for Medicare. Should you miss this enrollment period, please remember that the typical enrollment period occurs at the end of each year. Go to the Medicare.gov website, call Part D directly, or call 1-800-Medicare to enroll.

When can I change my Medicare Part D plan in California?

Beneficiaries can change their Medicare Part D plans during open enrollment periods at the end of the year. These periods typically run from October 15th to December 7th each year.

What drugs are not covered by Medicare Part D in California?

Some types of prescription drugs are not covered by Medicare Part D, including:

  • Fertility drugs
  • Cosmetic drugs
  • Hair growth drugs
  • Cold and cough symptom drugs
  • Erectile dysfunction drugs
  • Prescription vitamins and minerals
  • Weight loss or weight gain drugs

Visit the Medicare website for a complete list of drugs covered by Medicare Part D.

What is the most popular Medicare Part D plan in California?

Based on feedback, Humana is the best overall Part D plan in California, offering reasonable premiums, deductibles, and gap coverage.

How to Get Help Signing Up for a Medicare Part D Plan in California

If you’re ready to determine which Medicare Part D plan is best for your healthcare needs, don’t go it alone. We’re here to help. Our plan comparisons, coverage explanations, and free rate quotes are just a phone call away. Feel free to give us a call today or fill out our convenient online form to get started.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.