5 Steps to Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans in 2019

November 2018

It’s the Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 every year, and that means it’s one time to shop for Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C).

If you are looking to join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time in 2019 – or if you are switching from your current plan to a new one – you may be interested in comparing the plans that are available near you so that you can pick a plan from the top of your list.

To help with your search, we’ve put together a five-step guide to comparing Medicare Advantage plans in 2019.

Couple walking in forest

1. Decide what Medicare Advantage benefits you want

The benefits offered by a Medicare Advantage plan can vary. Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same benefits covered by Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).

Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits such as:

Not all benefits are available with all plans, so it’s important to compare the plans that are available where you live and find out which plans provide the benefits that are top on your list.

2. Find out which plans are available in your area

You can only sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan that serves the area in which you live.

Some plans, such as Medicare HMO plans, have localized networks of participating providers while others, like Medicare PPO plans or Medicare Private-Fee-For-Service plans, may offer broader provider networks.

You may want to find out if your favorite doctor, pharmacy and your other top preferred health care providers are members of a plan’s network in 2019 before you decide to join that plan.

3. Consult the Medicare Star Ratings

Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issues star ratings for all Medicare Advantage plans using a system of one to five stars1. These plans are evaluated and rated each year, so plan Star Ratings can change each year.

Plans are rated on aspects like preventive services, chronic condition management, customer service and more. Low-performing plans are flagged, and there’s even a Special Enrollment Period specific to signing up for five-star Medicare plans.

4. Consider pricing structure

Some Medicare Advantage plans may have a higher monthly premium but a lower deductible (or no deductible at all), while other plans may feature $0 premiums but a higher deductible. $0 premium plans may not be available in all locations.

There may also be out-of-pocket spending limits to consider, along with cost-sharing variables such as coinsurance and copayments. These costs can vary from plan to plan, so you may want to compare all of these aspects of the 2019 plans you consider.

5. Review insurance company reputations and reviews

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies all over the U.S. As a consumer, you can do some research into a company’s history, reputation and ratings before committing to 2019 coverage.

The Better Business Bureau is a good place to start, along with rating organizations like J.D. Power, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

You can compare plans from a number of Medicare Advantage plan providers, such as:

Getting help shopping for Medicare Advantage plans in 2019

You don’t have to embark on your search for Medicare Advantage plans alone.

Contact a licensed insurance agent today at TTY Users: 711 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to compare plans available near you that may offer the benefits that are at the top of your list.

By using the steps above along with the help of a licensed insurance agent, you can find a Medicare Advantage plan that may fit your needs in 2019.

 

1 Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system.

Copyright © 2018 TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. All rights reserved.

MedicareAdvantage.com is a website owned and operated by TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC and TruBridge, Inc. represent Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plans having Medicare contracts; enrollment in any plan depends upon contract renewal.

Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.