Medicare Advantage Plans El Paso County 2025

Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan in El Paso County? Find clear-cut information about your local options, including plan types like HMOs and PPOs, star ratings, and the specifics on prescription drug coverage.

This focused guide equips El Paso County residents with the vital details needed to pick the right Medicare Advantage plans in El Paso County for your health needs without extraneous details.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare Advantage plans in El Paso County offer a variety of plan types with different network restrictions and referral requirements, and star ratings are available to help gauge plan quality.


  • Prescription Drug Coverage is included in many Medicare Advantage Plans, known as MA-PDs, but varies in terms of copays and deductibles, making it important to compare formularies and coverage details.


  • Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is time-sensitive, with specific periods such as the Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period, and Special Enrollment Periods for eligible life events.

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Exploring Medicare Advantage Plans in El Paso County


Medicare Advantage Plans El Paso County 2025 Exploring Medicare Advantage Plans in El Paso County


Medicare Advantage plans, as an alternative to traditional Medicare, are an excellent way to get more comprehensive health coverage. Beneficiaries of these plans in Texas enjoy a multitude of options, each tailored to different healthcare needs and preferences.

The size and composition of a plan’s network of doctors and providers is a crucial factor to consider when making a choice. With a variety of plan types, including:

  • HMO


  • PPO


  • PFFS




With unique plan’s network restrictions and referral requirements, there’s a plan for everyone.

Let’s delve into these types a bit deeper.


Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans come in various types, each with its unique features:

  • HMO plans typically restrict members to a network of providers and require the selection of a primary care physician who coordinates referrals to specialists.


  • PPO plans offer a preferred network but allow members to see out-of-network doctors, usually at a higher out-of-pocket cost.



  • HMO-POS plans to provide a mix of HMO and PPO features.


With such a variety, it’s crucial to understand your healthcare needs and preferences to select the most suitable health plan.


Star Ratings and Quality Measures

When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s essential to consider the plan’s star rating.

Medicare Advantage Star Ratings assign up to five stars to plans based on members’ health outcomes, with plans that receive four or five stars considered to exhibit high-quality care. The ratings are determined by the plan’s performance on a list of quality measures falling under nine domains, including:

  • maintaining health


  • chronic disease management


  • member experience


  • customer service


In El Paso County, 36% of all Medicare Advantage Plans were rated 4 stars or higher by CMS for 2024. However, there were no 5-star rated Medicare Advantage Plans available for that year.

Although these ratings provide valuable insights into the quality of a plan, remember that every individual’s needs are unique, and the best plan for you is one that meets your specific healthcare needs.


Prescription Drug Coverage with Medicare Advantage


Medicare Advantage Plans El Paso County 2025 Prescription Drug Coverage with Medicare Advantage


A significant advantage of Medicare Advantage Plans is the potential inclusion of Prescription Drug Coverage. These plans, known as MA-PDs, are offered by Medicare-approved private companies and provide at least the same drug coverage as Medicare Part D.

However, the costs associated with MA-PD coverage, such as copays and deductibles, can greatly differ among plans. Therefore, it’s crucial to verify that a Medicare Advantage Plan includes prescription drug coverage if needed, as it is not a standard feature of all plans.

Let’s dive deeper into the eligibility and benefits of prescription drug coverage.


Eligibility for Prescription Drug Coverage

Eligibility for prescription drug coverage is determined by specific criteria. One must be a United States citizen or lawfully present in the United States to be eligible for Medicare drug coverage. Additionally, to join a Medicare drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage, one must have both Medicare Part A and Part B.

Understanding these eligibility requirements is essential to make the most out of the Prescription Drug Coverage offered by Medicare Advantage Plans.


Comparing Prescription Drug Benefits

When comparing prescription drug benefits among different Medicare Advantage Plans, it’s crucial to review the formulary, which lists covered drugs, and understand the drug tiers as this information directly influences out-of-pocket costs.

Some Medicare Advantage Plans enhance their offerings with additional prescription drug benefits, like tiered pharmacy networks, mail-order services, or special coverage rules, which can lead to cost savings for beneficiaries.

Therefore, a thorough comparison of plans, considering the plan’s costs and specific coverage details, is paramount to ensure the best drug coverage for your needs.

Enrollment Periods and Process for Medicare Advantage Plans


Medicare Advantage Plans El Paso County 2025 Enrollment Periods and Process for Medicare Advantage Plans


Understanding the enrollment periods for Medicare Advantage plans is crucial to avoid missing out on the chance to enroll or change plans without facing penalties.

Typically, enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan occurs during the Initial Enrollment Period or the Annual Election Period. However, special circumstances may permit enrollment outside of the standard periods, providing additional opportunities to join or modify Medicare Advantage plans.

Let’s break down these enrollment periods.


Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage is a 7-month window that begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after that month.

This period is a critical time to sign up for Medicare Advantage, as missing this window may lead to limited choices and potential penalties.

Therefore, marking your calendar and being ready to sign up during this period is a crucial step towards securing your health coverage.


Annual Enrollment Period

The Annual Enrollment Period is another vital time for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Running from October 15 to December 7 each year, this period allows beneficiaries to review and adjust their Medicare Advantage plans to better meet their healthcare needs.

It’s also worth noting that individuals can switch from a Medigap policy to a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. This flexibility ensures that you can always opt for the plan that best suits your evolving needs.


Special Enrollment Circumstances

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes, changes happen that might impact your Medicare Advantage Plan. Special Enrollment Periods cater to these unforeseen changes, allowing you to make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare drug coverage due to life events such as moving or losing other insurance coverage.

For instance, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you move to a new address that is not in your current plan’s service area or if your current plan changes its contract with Medicare. These provisions ensure that you’re not stuck with a plan that no longer serves your needs or circumstances.


Alternative Options: Medicare Supplements and Special Needs Plans


Medicare Advantage Plans El Paso County 2025 Alternative Options: Medicare Supplements and Special Needs Plans


While Medicare Advantage Plans offer comprehensive coverage, there might be situations where you require additional coverage or have specific healthcare needs. In such cases, Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap plans, and Special Needs Plans (SNPs) come into play.

Medigap plans help cover the gaps in Original Medicare coverage, while SNPs provide targeted care and benefits to individuals with specific diseases or characteristics. Let’s delve into these alternative options.


Medicare Supplements

Medicare Supplements serve to cover additional expenses not paid by Original Medicare, offering beneficiaries enhanced coverage options. By covering the extra costs that Original Medicare does not, Medicare Supplement plans make out-of-pocket expenses more predictable and manageable.

However, the monthly premiums for these plans can vary, with an average range from $150 to approximately $200 depending on the state and insurer.

Therefore, while considering a Medicare Supplement plan, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the cost.


Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

Tailored to cater to individuals with specific healthcare needs, Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are a type of Medicare Advantage plan that provides targeted care and benefits. There are three types of SNPs: Chronic-Condition SNPs (C-SNPs), Dual-Eligible SNPs (D-SNPs), and Institutional SNPs (I-SNPs), each serving different populations with unique healthcare needs.

To enroll in an SNP, an individual must have Medicare Part A and Part B and live in the plan’s service area, with additional requirements for D-SNPs.

SNPs cater to individuals with specific healthcare needs, providing Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), care coordination, and extra services for certain conditions, and are structured as HMO or PPO plans that include Medicare Part A and Part B benefits.

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Top-Rated Medicare Advantage Plans in El Paso County


Medicare Advantage Plans El Paso County 2025 Top-Rated Medicare Advantage Plans in El Paso County


With a myriad of Medicare Advantage plans available in El Paso County, how do you decide which one is the best for you? To aid in your decision, it’s helpful to look at the top-rated plans in the county.

According to CMS ratings, some of the top-rated plans include Devoted CORE El Paso, HumanaChoice H5216-043, and Aetna Medicare Choice Plan. However, it’s crucial to remember that the best plan for you is not necessarily the highest-rated one but the one that best meets your specific health needs.


Plan Comparison Tips

Choosing the right plan involves more than just looking at star ratings. When comparing Medicare Advantage Plans, evaluating premiums, out-of-pocket limits, and drug plan deductibles is vital to understanding the overall costs.

In El Paso County, the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans is $57.22, and the average out-of-pocket maximum is $5,247 per year.

To minimize out-of-pocket expenses, it’s crucial for beneficiaries to check that their preferred healthcare providers are within the plan’s network. These factors, along with your health needs and lifestyle, should guide your decision-making process.


Popular Providers in El Paso County

El Paso County offers a variety of Medicare Advantage plan providers, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of beneficiaries. Some of the popular providers include:

  • AARP Medicare Advantage from UHC


  • Devoted Health


  • Humana


  • Cigna


  • Blue Cross


There’s also El Paso Health Medicare Advantage, a locally-based provider that offers plans designed specifically to meet the needs of El Paso County residents.

Some Medicare Advantage plans from El Paso Health may include additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage. By considering both the reputation of the provider and the specific offerings of their plans, you can make a more informed decision.


Additional Benefits and Services

One of the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans is the potential for additional services beyond what Original Medicare provides. These additional benefits can include comprehensive dental, vision, and hearing coverage.

In El Paso County, some Medicare Advantage plans also offer extra benefits such as transportation, reduced cost-sharing, and gym memberships.

These benefits can significantly enhance your healthcare experience, so it’s worthwhile to consider them in your decision-making process.


Dental, Vision, and Hearing Coverage

Dental, vision, and hearing coverage are essential aspects of comprehensive health care, yet they are not offered by Original Medicare Part A and Part B.

In El Paso, Medicare Advantage plans may offer these extra benefits, adding more value to your healthcare plan. However, these benefits are not a standard part of all Medicare Advantage plans.

Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully verify whether your chosen plan provides these additional benefits and understand the coverage’s limitations.


Wellness Programs and Preventive Care

Apart from the standard medical coverage and Medicaid services, certain Medicare Advantage plans in El Paso also offer wellness programs and preventive care services as part of their coverage. These could include benefits like gym memberships or transportation to healthcare facilities.

While these offerings can greatly enhance your healthcare experience, it’s essential to weigh the benefits of wellness programs against the quality of coverage to ensure your health needs are adequately met.

Navigating Provider Networks and Referrals

When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, understanding provider networks and referral requirements is crucial. Each type of plan, be it Local HMO, Local PPO, PFFS, or Regional PPO, offers varying network options and out-of-network coverage.

It’s important to determine your preference regarding the use of in-network-only providers or the need for flexibility that out-of-network coverage provides.

Let’s delve deeper into these aspects.


In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Providers

In-network providers have agreements with Medicare Advantage plans to offer services at lower, negotiated rates, while out-of-network providers do not have such contracts and may charge their usual fees.

As a result, utilizing out-of-network providers typically results in higher costs for patients, including additional costs.

Moreover, the network of providers included in a Medicare Advantage plan can influence drug coverage, as some plans might limit coverage to specific providers or offer varying levels of coverage for in-network versus out-of-network services.

Thus, understanding the implications of in-network and out-of-network services is crucial to managing your healthcare costs.


Referral Requirements

Referral requirements can also influence your experience with a Medicare Advantage plan. Here are some key points to consider:

  • HMO plans generally require a referral from the PCP for specialist visits within the network to be covered.


  • PPO Medicare Advantage plans permit members to see specialists without referrals.


  • However, seeing out-of-network specialists with a PPO plan can lead to higher out-of-pocket costs.


Understanding these requirements can help you choose a plan that offers the flexibility and coverage you need.


Navigating Medicare Advantage plans can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge, it becomes a manageable task. From understanding the different types of plans and their star ratings to evaluating prescription drug coverage and enrollment periods, we’ve covered a wide range of topics that are crucial to making an informed decision.

We’ve also explored alternative options like Medigap and SNPs and discussed additional benefits like dental, vision, and hearing coverage, as well as wellness programs.

Remember, the best plan for you is one that meets your specific health needs, fits your budget, and aligns with your lifestyle. So, take your time, weigh your options, and make the choice that best suits you.


Frequently Asked Questions


→ What is the most highly rated Medicare Advantage plan?

The most highly rated Medicare Advantage plan providers are UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana, each excelling in different areas like network size, extra perks, local support, and low-cost plan availability. UnitedHealthcare is specifically recognized for its large provider network and a broad array of options.


→ Who is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans?

The largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans is UnitedHealth Group, with 7.6 million people enrolled in its plans as of 2022.


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

The main difference between Medicare Advantage HMO and Medicare Advantage PPO plans is that HMO plans typically have lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, while PPO plans offer more flexibility to see providers out of the network at an additional cost. Keep in mind the trade-off between cost and network flexibility when choosing between the two.


→ What are the different types of Medicare Advantage Plans?

There are four main types of Medicare Advantage Plans: HMO, PPO, PFFS, and HMO-POS, each with different network restrictions and referral requirements. Choose the type that best suits your healthcare needs.


→ When can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Initial Enrollment Period, Annual Election Period, or Special Enrollment Period for specific circumstances. It’s important to be aware of these enrollment periods to make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.

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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.