The best medicare advantage policy for you will depend on how well the plan’s costs and coverage match your needs.
medicare advantage, also known as medicare part c, is a combined health plan that provides medical benefits that are at least as good as original medicare (parts a and b). In many cases, plans also include coverage for prescription drugs, dental, and vision, making them a great way to simplify your insurance.
the best medicare advantage plans
Each insurer will have its pros and cons. even our best overall pick isn’t best for everyone due to higher costs and limited availability. on the other hand, if you have specialized health care needs, then you might prioritize a plan with a large network of medical providers, which can give you better access to specialists. And if you’re looking for affordable coverage, keep in mind that there may be some trade-offs in terms of plan benefits.
The general rule of thumb is that a cheaper plan will have pros and cons, like higher costs each time you get medical care or poor customer service. a more expensive plan may give you better coverage, but the high monthly bill may not be worth it for those on a tight budget or who don’t need a lot of medical care.
Best Medicare Advantage Provider: Kaiser Permanente
most popular medicare advantage carrier: aarp/unitedhealthcare
cheapest medicare advantage provider: aetna
medicare advantage company with the largest network: blue cross blue shield
When comparing provider networks, keep in mind that it’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison because each company publishes its numbers slightly differently. however, general trends can give you an idea of how widespread access to health care might be in your area.
medicare advantage company is best for hassle-free prescriptions: human
list of medicare advantage plans of the main regional insurers
In addition to the major insurance companies, there are also regional insurance providers with highly rated Medicare Advantage plans.
On medicare.gov, the average star rating for these regional providers is greater than 4.5, an achievement Kaiser Permanente is the only national insurer to achieve. For those who want a highly rated plan but don’t have access to Kaiser Permanente, these smaller insurers are a great option. For example, those who live in some areas of New York can choose a Medicare Advantage plan from CDPHP, a 5-star insurer with an average rate of just $44 per month.
Keep in mind that there are some additional factors to consider when considering a smaller insurance company. one of the advantages is that a smaller company could be better connected to the local community and have more investments in the health needs of medicare members who live in the region.
On the other hand, a smaller company may not have the same financial strength as the major insurers. Among the list of Medicare Advantage plans above, only two have AM Best ratings: Capital Health Plan has an A+ (Superior) and Highmark has an A (Excellent). These high financial ratings mean that companies are well positioned to pay large claims. the rest of the companies are not rated, which means we have no information about their financial strength.
how to choose the best medicare advantage plan
Choosing your best medicare advantage plan will depend on the policy’s cost, amount of coverage, and provider network. these will vary greatly when comparing insurers, but will also differ between the plans offered by each provider. That’s why it’s important to understand these categories and how they will change your Medicare health insurance.
1. compare monthly costs
Medicare Advantage costs include the monthly premium, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, copays, and coinsurance. A policy’s monthly premium generally affects the deductible level and out-of-pocket maximum. For example, if you select a plan with a higher monthly premium, then the deductible and amount you have to pay out of pocket are usually lower.
2. assess how much medical care you expect to need
Your medical usage will determine which plan has the best coverage for you. To minimize your costs, you must match your medical needs with the plan’s benefits. For example, those who need expensive health services, such as surgery, should focus on a plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum, which will provide a good cap on their annual medical expenses. however, those with typical or moderate medical needs should take a closer look at the plan’s deductible and coinsurance or copayment, which is the cost-sharing rate you’ll pay for health services.
3. consider any additional benefits that are included
some medicare advantage policies include additional benefits, such as fitness programs, dental care, vision care, or online concierge services. You should keep this in mind before deciding which Medicare Advantage plan is best for you.
4. look at provider networks
A medicare advantage plan usually negotiates relationships with doctors and medical providers. For this reason, it’s important to carefully review the network of each plan you’re considering. For example, if you have a preferred primary care physician that you have used throughout your life, we recommend that you confirm with that physician that they are in-network for the policy you are choosing to purchase.