Compare Medicare Advantage Plans Side by Side 2025

Navigating the world of Medicare Advantage plans can feel overwhelming. However, by comparing these plans side by side, you can make an informed decision that best suits your healthcare needs and budget.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of evaluating different types of Medicare Advantage plans, analyzing costs and coverage, and making the most of available resources to choose the perfect plan for you. To do this, it’s important to compare Medicare Advantage plans side by side.


Key Takeaways


  • Consider monthly premiums and deductibles when selecting a plan that meets your healthcare needs and budget.


  • Consult with medical professionals to make an informed decision utilizing available resources for personalized plans.

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Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans: The Basics

Medicare Advantage plans come in five distinct types:


  1. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  2. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)
  3. Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans
  4. Special Needs Plans (SNPs)
  5. Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans


Grasping the pros and cons of each plan type is key to making a suitable choice that aligns with your healthcare needs and preferences.


Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans- The Basics

Each plan type has its own set of characteristics, such as network restrictions, cost-sharing requirements, and additional benefits. This guide will provide an overview of these plan types, helping you to compare Medicare Advantage plans side by side and make the best choice for your unique circumstances.


Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans

HMO plans are renowned for their lower costs, but they also come with certain limitations. These plans involve a network of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, requiring you to:


  • Select a primary care physician (PCP) who will coordinate your healthcare needs
  • Obtain referrals from your PCP to consult specialists
  • Receive out-of-network care only in emergency situations, as it is generally not covered.


While HMO plans may be more cost-effective than other Medicare Advantage plan types, it’s imperative to balance the benefits with the limitations of a Medicare Advantage HMO. Some of the drawbacks include:


  • Restrictive networks
  • Limited provider choices
  • The requirement for referrals to see specialists
  • Potential out-of-pocket costs


Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans

PPO plans offer more flexibility than HMO plans, including:


  • Ability to receive care from both in-network and out-of-network providers within the plan’s network
  • In-network care typically comes with reduced costs
  • Out-of-network care can result in higher expenses
  • No requirement to select a primary care doctor
  • No need for referrals for specialists


While PPO plans grant more liberty in selecting healthcare providers, they might have higher monthly premiums and deductible costs than HMO plans. Assessing your healthcare needs and preferences is key when weighing the benefits and drawbacks of a PPO plan.


Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans

PFFS plans are a unique type of Medicare Advantage plan that offer the following benefits:


  • Determine the amount paid to healthcare providers and hospitals
  • Determine the amount you pay for care
  • Offer flexibility, as they don’t require you to select a primary care doctor
  • Don’t require you to obtain referrals to see specialists


If a PFFS plan is on your radar, it’s important to verify its prescription drug coverage if required. Additionally, examine the plan’s prescription drug list (formulary) to ensure your medications are covered.

PFFS plans can be a suitable option for those looking for more control over their healthcare decisions and provider choices.


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Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

SNPs are Medicare Advantage plans specifically designed for certain groups with specific health conditions or income levels. These tailored plans often provide more comprehensive coverage for specialized care, such as treatment for heart disease or skilled nursing facility care.

While SNPs offer the same Medicare services as other plans, they may provide additional benefits or reduced rates depending on the plan. If you fall into one of the specialized groups that SNPs cater to, these plans can be a valuable option to consider for your healthcare needs.


Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plans

MSA plans combine a high-deductible health plan with a medical savings account, offering more control over healthcare decisions for those comfortable with managing higher deductibles.

The plan deposits funds into the account, which can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses.

MSA plans have the following features:


  • Higher deductible compared to other Medicare Advantage plans
  • No network restrictions, allowing beneficiaries to visit any Medicare-approved provider
  • Any unused funds in the savings account can roll over to the next year


MSA plans can be an appealing option for those seeking greater control over their healthcare expenses.

Analyzing Costs, Coverage, and Extra Benefits

Comparing Medicare Advantage plans requires taking into account the following factors:


  • Monthly premiums
  • Deductibles
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Extra benefits


More expensive plans generally provide superior benefits, which can be advantageous if you have ongoing medical care requirements. On the other hand, a less expensive plan will save you money each month, but you could end up paying more each time you need medical care.

To select the plan that best fits your needs, scrutinize each plan’s prescription drug coverage, out-of-pocket costs, and extra benefits, such as vision, dental, and wellness programs. This will aid in making a choice that aligns with your healthcare needs and budget.


Monthly Premiums and Deductibles

Medicare Advantage plans vary in terms of monthly premiums and annual deductibles, depending on the chosen plan. The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage Plans is $18.50, and these premiums are generally lower than those of Original Medicare.

Evaluating plan costs requires considering the plan’s premium and the maximum out-of-pocket expense. By understanding the costs associated with each plan, you can make an informed decision that best suits your healthcare needs and financial situation.


Prescription Drug Coverage

Prescription drug coverage is a vital component of many Medicare Advantage plans, as medications can be costly, amounting to hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. When selecting a plan, it’s important to ensure that it covers your prescriptions.


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To contrast prescription drug coverage among various Medicare Advantage plans, consider the list of medications covered by each plan. By selecting a plan that includes your prescriptions, you can avoid high out-of-pocket costs and ensure that your healthcare needs are met.


Additional Benefits and Services

Medicare Advantage plans provide a range of additional benefits. These can include vision and hearing care, dental treatment, and access to wellness programs and gym memberships.

These additional benefits can enhance your healthcare experience and provide valuable services that may not be covered by Original Medicare.

In comparing Medicare Advantage plans, take into account the extra benefits and services provided by each plan, along with any potential cost savings.

By taking into account these factors, you can choose a plan that not only covers your basic healthcare needs but also offers valuable extras to improve your overall well-being. Conducting a thorough Medicare Advantage plan comparison will help you make the best decision for your needs.

Evaluating Provider Networks and Quality Ratings

Aside from costs and coverage, assessing Medicare Advantage plans also involves evaluating their provider networks and quality ratings.

Understanding your plan’s network is essential for continued access to care. Make sure your preferred healthcare providers, hospitals, and specialists are included in the plan’s network.


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The accessibility of network providers is a key factor when considering your healthcare experience. Factors such as proximity to your location and availability of appointments need to be taken into account.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that best suits your healthcare needs and preferences.


Doctor and Hospital Networks

In evaluating Medicare Advantage plans, it’s important to confirm that your preferred doctors are part of the plan’s network. The decision of which doctors and hospitals to include in a plan’s network is made by the respective Medicare Advantage company.

If you have a regular network of caregivers and medical facilities, it’s essential to determine whether the physicians, specialists, and facilities accept the specific Medicare Advantage plan you’re considering. This will help you maintain continuity of care and avoid unexpected out-of-pocket costs.


Medicare Star rating

Medicare Advantage plans are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, assessing their quality and performance. These ratings are determined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) using 40 measurements.

By taking into account the Medicare Star Ratings of various plans, you can make a decision about the overall quality of the plan and its capacity to meet your healthcare needs.

This information can be invaluable in helping you choose a plan that aligns with your expectations for quality care and service.

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Navigating Enrollment Periods and Deadlines

Comprehending the diverse enrollment periods and deadlines for Medicare Advantage plans is key to ensuring a seamless transition, uninterrupted coverage, and the chance to make necessary modifications to your healthcare plan.

Initial enrollment periods and special enrollment periods offer varying windows of time for enrolling in or changing your Medicare Advantage plan.

Getting acquainted with these enrollment periods can help prevent missing deadlines and ensure you have the necessary coverage when you need it.

This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare and avoid any potential gaps in coverage or penalties for late enrollment.


Initial Enrollment Period

When you first become eligible for Medicare, the Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage plans begins. It is a seven-month period.

This period typically begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends either on the last day of the Part B initial enrollment period or on the last day of the month in which Medicare is attained.

Being cognizant of the dates for the Initial Enrollment Period is crucial to ensure timely enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan. Failing to enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period may result in penalties or the need to wait for a special enrollment period.


Special Enrollment Period


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Special Enrollment Periods allow you to make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan due to specific life events or circumstances.

These events can include moving to a new address, losing other insurance coverage, or experiencing certain qualifying life events.

Being aware of the different Special Enrollment Periods and the events that can activate them is important.

By understanding these periods, you can make necessary changes to your Medicare Advantage plan when needed, ensuring that your healthcare coverage remains aligned with your evolving needs and life circumstances.

Making an Informed Decision: Personalizing Your Medicare Advantage Plan Choice

Choosing the best Medicare Advantage plan involves evaluating your personal healthcare needs, seeking advice from healthcare professionals, and utilizing available resources and assistance programs.

By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision that is tailored to your unique healthcare needs and preferences.

In this final section, we’ll offer tips for personalizing your Medicare Advantage plan choice, ensuring that you select a plan that not only covers your basic healthcare needs but also provides additional benefits and services that enhance your overall well-being, all within the scope of your Medicare contract and considering the option of Medicare supplement insurance.


Assessing Personal Healthcare Needs

Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan requires considering your healthcare needs and preferences. This includes coverage for prescription drugs, major medical issues, and benefits not included in traditional Medicare, such as eyeglasses.


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By assessing your typical medical needs and ensuring that the plan you choose fulfills those needs, you can avoid high out-of-pocket costs and ensure that your healthcare needs are met.

This personalized approach to selecting a Medicare Advantage plan can help you make the best choice for your unique healthcare requirements.


Consulting with Healthcare Professionals

Seeking advice from your doctors and specialists is an invaluable resource when selecting a Medicare Advantage plan.

They can provide personalized recommendations based on your medical history and needs, helping you choose a plan that is appropriate for your healthcare requirements.

Healthcare professionals can offer insights into:


  • The specific benefits and coverage options of different plans
  • Understanding the network of health care providers associated with each plan
  • Advising on any lifestyle benefits or additional services that may be important to consider


Their expertise can help you make an informed decision that is tailored to your individual healthcare needs.


Utilizing Available Resources and Assistance Programs

While navigating Medicare Advantage plans can be complex, numerous resources and assistance programs are available to help you make the best decision. Online tools, such as’s plan comparison tool, can help you compare plans side by side and determine which plan offers the best coverage for your needs.

Additionally, licensed agents and Medicare experts can provide personalized guidance and assistance in selecting the perfect plan for you.


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State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) are also available to provide unbiased advice and assistance in selecting a Medicare Advantage plan, helping you understand the different plans available in your area and compare their benefits and costs.


In conclusion, comparing Medicare Advantage plans side by side is essential to making an informed decision that best suits your healthcare needs and budget.

By carefully evaluating the different plan types, costs, coverage, provider networks, and quality ratings, you can choose a plan that offers the ideal combination of benefits and services for your unique healthcare requirements.

Don’t hesitate to consult with healthcare professionals and utilize available resources to ensure you make the best choice for your health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions



What is the tool to compare Medicare Advantage plans?

The Medicare Plan Finder on is the best tool for comparing Medicare Advantage plans, offering information on coverage, costs, and benefits in your area. You can also use the website to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan.


Why are people leaving Medicare Advantage plans?

High prior authorization denial rates, slow payments, and alleged billing fraud have caused people to leave Medicare Advantage plans.


What is the best Medicare Advantage plan for 2025?

Humana is the best Medicare Advantage plan for 2025 based on its high-quality ratings, positive customer reviews, widespread availability, and various zero-premium plans. Current customers have reported a higher quality of health care with Humana compared to other providers like AARP/UHC.


What are the five types of Medicare Advantage plans?

Medicare Advantage plans consist of five types: HMOs, PPOs, PFFS plans, SNPs, and MSAs.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.