Medicare Part D, the Prescription Drug Program (PDP), went into effect when President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.
Implemented in 2006, the Act added a PDP benefit to be provided by private insurers. It was the biggest change to Medicare in 38 years.
Previously, about 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries did not have prescription drug coverage. Under this law, private health plans approved by Medicare became known as Medicare Advantage plans. (They are also referred to as Part C or MA.)
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