There are 2,734 Medicare Advantage plans available across the U.S. in 2019.1 Having such a large selection might make it feel difficult to compare your options and to find the right Medicare Advantage plans for your budget and health coverage needs.
We’re here to help.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to find the right Medicare Advantage plan for your needs with the benefits you want by showing you how to compare plans for free.
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Speak with a licensed insurance agent
As you prepare to enroll in Medicare, a great way to compare Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) is to speak with a licensed insurance agent who is able to sell Medicare Advantage plans on behalf of one or several different carriers.
A licensed insurance agent can let you know which plans are available in your area, and they will also be able to answer your questions about the plan costs, premiums, benefits, coverage and other topics.
With a licensed insurance agent, you’ll be able to compare Medicare Advantage plans from a number of different providers, such as:
Another good way to compare Medicare Advantage plans is to use a Medicare plan finder tool.
The pros and cons of a Medicare Advantage plan will depend on your unique needs. Some plans may feature premiums or network coverage that work better for you, while other plans might offer prescription drug coverage and other benefits that you need.
There are five key features to analyze when comparing Medicare Advantage plans:
The right Medicare Advantage plans should offer you a value in terms of what they cost compared to what they provide.
The average Medicare Advantage premium for 2019 is projected to be just $28.00 per month, and it’s important to note that cost can fluctuate based on where you live and the types of Medicare Advantage plans available near you.
Some Medicare Advantage plans even offer $0 premiums, though $0 premiums plans aren’t available in all locations. It’s good to check with a licensed insurance agent to compare the costs for plans near you.
Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to provide all of the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B (also called Original Medicare).
Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer additional benefits unique to each plan, and popular extras benefits can include:
Compare these extra benefits when searching for Medicare Advantage plans in your area to make sure you find the right combination of benefits for your needs.
Most Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage. These plans are commonly referred to as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (or MA-PD) plans.
If you are one of the millions of seniors in America who relies on prescription medication, the right Medicare Advantage plan for you may be one that offers drug coverage. Each plan will cover drugs differently, and some plans may have preferred pharmacy partners.
Be sure to check with your prescription drug plan provider for details about your plan.
There are several different common types of Medicare Advantage plans.
For example, a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan provides coverage within a network of health care facilities and providers, and it typically requires you to designate a primary care physician who makes referrals to see specialists when needed. HMO plans typically don’t cover out-of-network services, except in the case of an emergency.
A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, however, may cover some care you receive outside of the provider network, though you may pay higher out-of-pocket costs for your services. Some PPO plans may not require you to use a primary care physician or get referrals.
Be sure to compare each type of plan that’s available where you live to find the coverage that works well for you. A licensed insurance agent can help you find out if a Medicare Advantage plan covers your doctor and your other preferred providers.
One way you can compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area is to refer to the Medicare Star Ratings.
Every year, Medicare evaluates Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans based on a 5-star rating system, with one star plans getting a “poor” designation and five star plans getting an “excellent” designation.
When comparing plans and trying to find a good option, be sure to ask a licensed insurance agent about the Medicare Star Ratings for the plans you are comparing.
Contact a licensed insurance agent today to begin comparing plans, and find the right Medicare Advantage plan for your unique needs.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. 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.
Where you've seen coverage of Christian's research and reports: