Different Medicare Advantage plans have different benefits and costs, so it is important to shop around and find a plan that works for your coverage needs. There were 3,550 Medicare Advantage plans available in the United States in 2021, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).1
You can call to compare plans over the phone with the help of a licensed insurance agent.
You should look at the following 4 factors when comparing Medicare Advantage plans:
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Speak with a licensed insurance agent
There are 5 major types of plans. The type of plan you choose will affect your health care provider options, your drug coverage options, whether you need a referral to see a specialist, and your out-of-pocket costs.
For example, if you need a low-cost plan and can stay in-network for your health care, a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan may be suitable. If you are willing to pay extra for more freedom to visit pre-approved doctors or facilities, a Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan may better suit your needs.
You should compare all of the major types of plans, understand their pros and cons, and choose the one that is best for you.
More info: Medicare Advantage plan types
All Medicare Advantage plans must provide Original Medicare benefits, but some plans may provide additional benefits such as prescription drug, vision, and/or dental coverage.
You should choose a plan with the benefits that you need most. For example, if you need several prescriptions, you should find out which Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage. If you need vision coverage, you should find plans that offer vision benefits.
More info: Medicare Advantage plan benefits
Medicare assigns star ratings to every available Medicare Advantage plan.2 Medicare Advantage plan star ratings give you an idea of the plan’s quality and performance. Ratings are generated by Medicare and are based on information from member satisfaction surveys, plans, and health care providers.
Ratings range from 1 star (poor performance) to 5 stars (excellent performance).
There are 2 things to look at when comparing out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Advantage plans: premiums and other costs such as copayments and deductibles.
Some plans have zero-dollar monthly premiums, but others may have monthly premiums that can vary widely from plan to plan. Also, $0 premium monthly plans may not be available in all areas. Some Medicare Advantage plans also may provide rebates for your Medicare Part B premium.
A cheaper plan may have lower monthly premiums, but it may have more restrictive network rules, as well as greater out-of-pocket costs such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Keep in mind you must continue to pay your Part B premium.
To learn more about Medicare Advantage plans and to find plans in your area, call a licensed insurance agent today or compare plans online.
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Or call 1-800-557-6059 (TTY: 711) to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!
1 Fugelsten Biniek, J. et al. (Oct. 29, 2020). Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from www.kff.org/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2021-spotlight-first-look.
2 Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5- star rating system.
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.
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