Medicare Advantage Plans Comparison Chart

Navigating the world of healthcare coverage can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan.

With numerous factors to consider, such as plan types, provider networks, and prescription drug coverage, it’s essential to make an informed decision that best suits your needs and budget.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of comparing Medicare Advantage plans using a medicare advantage plans comparison chart, ensuring that you select the best plan to support your health and well-being.


Key Takeaways


  • Understanding different plan types and associated provider networks is essential for selecting the most suitable plan.


  • Examining coverage levels, cost-sharing arrangements, additional benefits, and costs across different plans helps determine the best option for individual needs.

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Navigating Your Medicare Advantage Plan Comparison Chart

Comparing Medicare Advantage plans involves understanding key aspects such as plan types and their networks, coverage levels and cost-sharing, and additional benefits. Each plan is unique, and your choice should reflect your healthcare needs, preferred providers, and financial situation.

A careful evaluation of these factors will equip you to make a decision that aligns with your healthcare priorities.


Navigating Your Medicare Advantage Plan Comparison Chart

Understanding Plan Types and Their Networks

Medicare Advantage plan types include:



Each plan type comes with different provider networks and referral requirements, which can impact your overall healthcare costs.

For example, HMO plans are generally more cost-effective for those who primarily visit their primary care physician and require less specialist care. On the other hand, PPO plans offer more flexibility for seeking specialist care without referrals.


Medicare plans comparison chart



Grasping the distinctions between these plan types and their provider networks is key in determining the most suitable Medicare Advantage plan for you.


Deciphering Coverage Levels and Cost Sharing

Coverage levels and cost-sharing arrangements vary across Medicare Advantage plans, directly affecting premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs. For instance, the average premium for Medicare Advantage plans in the U.S. is estimated to be $18 per month.

Deductibles also differ between plans, with the average annual deductible for a Medicare Advantage Plan being $226.

A close examination of these costs can help you understand the financial implications of each plan and make a better decision.


Assessing Additional Benefits

Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits not included in Original Medicare, such as:



These additional benefits promote a healthy lifestyle for seniors.


Medicare advantage plan benefits



Considering these additional benefits can help you gauge the value of each plan and determine the most comprehensive coverage for your needs.

Comparing Costs Across Different Medicare Advantage Plans

Comparing Medicare Advantage costs is fundamental when selecting a plan, as the following factors can vary considerably:


  • Premiums
  • Deductibles
  • Copayments
  • Out-of-pocket limits


A close examination of these costs can help you identify a plan that aligns with your financial situation and healthcare needs.

Additionally, keep in mind that cost-sharing may differ based on the specific healthcare services you require, so it’s crucial to take these factors into account when comparing plans.


Premiums and Deductibles: What You’ll Pay

Premiums and deductibles play a significant role in determining your monthly and annual healthcare costs. Higher deductibles often result in reduced monthly premiums but may lead to increased out-of-pocket expenses when accessing medical services.

Conversely, lower deductibles can lead to higher monthly premiums but reduced out-of-pocket expenses for medical services. Grasping the trade-offs between premiums and deductibles can assist you in making a knowledgeable choice regarding your Medicare Advantage plan.


Out-of-Pocket Costs and Spending Limits

Out-of-pocket costs and spending limits are important considerations in protecting against high medical expenses. Medicare Advantage plans impose a limit on the amount one pays out-of-pocket each year, unlike Original Medicare, which does not feature an out-of-pocket maximum.


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This limit offers a safety net for beneficiaries, ensuring that they’re not burdened with exorbitant medical bills. Additionally, a medical savings account can provide further financial security for healthcare expenses.

Reviewing out-of-pocket costs and spending limits for each plan can help you choose a plan that provides financial security in the face of unexpected healthcare costs.

Prescription Drug Coverage in Detail

Prescription drug coverage is a significant aspect of Medicare Advantage plans, which includes prescription drug coverage. With numerous factors to consider, like formularies and pharmacy networks, a thorough analysis of each plan’s prescription drug coverage is necessary to ensure your medications are covered and to determine drug costs.


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A careful evaluation of these elements can help you select a plan that best supports your medication needs and budget.


Formulary Analysis: Ensuring Your Medications are Covered

A formulary is an inventory of all the generic and brand-name prescription drugs included within a plan’s coverage. Analyzing a plan’s formulary is essential to ensure that your medications are covered and to determine drug costs.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the tier structure and cost-sharing requirements of the formulary, as this can impact your out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs.

Thoroughly assessing the formulary can lead to a knowledgeable decision about which plan provides the most comprehensive coverage for your medication needs.


Pharmacy Networks and Convenience

Pharmacy networks play a significant role in the convenience and accessibility of prescription medications.

These networks include a group of pharmacies that have agreed to provide prescription drugs to plan members at a negotiated rate. Some plans may also offer mail-order pharmacy services, providing added convenience by delivering medications directly to your home.

Examining each plan’s pharmacy network can help you gauge the convenience and accessibility of your prescription medications, ensuring that you can obtain your medications without hassle.

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Enrollment Periods and Eligibility Criteria

Grasping enrollment periods and eligibility criteria is key for timely and successful enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans. Familiarizing yourself with key enrollment dates and the requirements for enrolling in Medicare Advantage Plans can ensure a smooth transition and continuous coverage.


Timing Your Enrollment: Key Dates to Remember

Key enrollment dates include:


  • Initial Enrollment Period: Occurs during the three months preceding and succeeding your 65th birthday, as well as your birthday month.
  • Annual Enrollment Period: Runs from October 15th to December 7th, during which you can modify your Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Open Enrollment Period: Occurs from January 1st to March 31st, allowing you to switch Medicare Advantage plans if needed.

Keeping these important dates in mind can ensure that you don’t miss any vital enrollment windows.


Best medicare plan for seniors



Qualifying for Medicare Advantage

To qualify for Medicare Advantage, you must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, which generally requires individuals to be 65 years of age or older and either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident for at least five years.

Grasping these eligibility criteria can assist in determining whether you qualify for Medicare Advantage and aid in making a knowledgeable decision about your healthcare coverage options.

Quality Ratings and Customer Experience

Quality ratings and customer experience are important factors in choosing a Medicare Advantage plan. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) assigns Star Ratings based on a plan’s performance and quality, helping you compare different plans and select one that offers the highest quality of care.


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Additionally, considering the input of family, friends, and trusted advisors can provide valuable insights into the customer experience and support offered by various plans.


Interpreting CMS Star Ratings

CMS Star Ratings measure the quality and performance of Medicare Advantage plans, with ratings ranging from one to five stars. These ratings are determined based on a plan’s performance on various quality measures, including:


  • screenings
  • tests
  • vaccines
  • chronic conditions management
  • member experience
  • plan administration


Understanding and considering CMS Star Ratings when comparing plans can aid in selecting a high-quality plan that meets your healthcare needs.


Importance of Customer Support

Customer support plays a significant role in overall satisfaction with a Medicare Advantage plan. Good customer support can facilitate:


  • Increased customer engagement
  • Care navigation
  • Improved customer experiences
  • Better health outcomes


Evaluating different plans involves considering factors such as star ratings, consumer experience and satisfaction surveys, and accreditation to gauge the quality of customer support and make a knowledgeable decision.

Health Plan Provider Accessibility

Health plan provider accessibility affects the availability and access to in-network health care providers and care outside the network. In-network providers tend to offer lower costs and coordinated care within a plan’s network, while out-of-network care may be available at a higher cost, depending on the plan type.

Evaluating provider accessibility can assist in choosing a plan that aligns with your healthcare needs and preferences.


In-Network Providers: Availability and Access

In-network providers offer the following benefits to Medicare Advantage plan members:


  • Cost savings
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Coordinated care
  • Predictable costs


An evaluation of a plan’s network can lead to a better understanding of the coverage and costs associated with in-network services, ensuring that you have access to the care you need at an affordable price.


Seeking Care Outside the Network

Out-of-network care refers to receiving medical services from healthcare providers who do not have a contract with your Medicare Advantage plan.

While some plans may still cover out-of-network services, they typically come with higher out-of-pocket costs for the beneficiary. Before seeking care outside your plan’s network, consider the potential risks, such as higher costs, limited provider access, and denial of coverage.

Understanding the implications of out-of-network care can aid in making knowledgeable decisions about your healthcare and choosing a plan that best suits your needs.

Special Considerations for Unique Health Needs

When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to consider any unique health needs you may have, such as chronic conditions, coordinated care, and lifestyle and wellness benefits. Plans tailored for these needs can offer better care coordination, management, and additional benefits that enhance overall well-being.

Taking these special considerations into account can assist in selecting a plan that addresses your specific healthcare needs and supports your long-term health goals.


Chronic Conditions and Coordinated Care

Medicare Advantage plans tailored for chronic conditions may offer better care coordination and management, providing resources and benefits designed to meet the needs of individuals with chronic conditions. These plans may offer:


  • Chronic care management services
  • Coordinated care
  • Personalized care plans
  • Access to a team of healthcare professionals


Selecting a plan that caters to your chronic conditions can ensure that you receive comprehensive and integrated care tailored to your unique health needs.


Lifestyle and Wellness Benefits

Lifestyle and wellness benefits, such as gym memberships, wellness programs, and access to preventive care services, can enhance overall well-being and support healthy aging.


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Considering these additional benefits when comparing Medicare Advantage plans can lead to selecting a plan that not only addresses your healthcare needs but also promotes a healthy lifestyle and optimal well-being.


In conclusion, comparing Medicare Advantage plans is a crucial step in selecting the best plan for your healthcare needs and financial situation.

By carefully evaluating plan types, provider networks, coverage levels, cost-sharing, prescription drug coverage, enrollment periods, eligibility criteria, quality ratings, customer experience, provider accessibility, and special considerations for unique health needs, you can make an informed decision that supports your long-term health goals.

Remember, the right Medicare Advantage plan can make all the difference in ensuring your health and well-being for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions



Who has the highest star-rated Medicare Advantage plans?

Humana Insurance Company has the highest star-rated Medicare Advantage plans.


→  Why are people leaving Medicare Advantage plans?

People are leaving Medicare Advantage plans due to excessive prior authorization denial rates and slow payments from insurers.


How can I compare different Medicare Advantage plans?

To compare Medicare Advantage plans, look at plan types, provider networks, coverage levels, cost-sharing, prescription drug coverage, and additional benefits.


→  What is the difference between HMO and PPO Medicare Advantage plans?

HMO Medicare Advantage plans have more restrictive provider networks and require referrals for specialist care, while PPO plans allow for greater flexibility to use both in-network and out-of-network providers without needing referrals.


→  How do I know if my medications are covered by a Medicare Advantage plan?

Review the plan’s formulary to confirm that your medications are covered by the Medicare Advantage plan.

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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.