Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno 2025

Navigating Medicare Advantage plans in Fresno can be overwhelming. This concise guide cuts through the complexity to deliver essential information on the 17 diverse Medicare Advantage plans available in Fresno County.

From understanding the differences between HMO, PPO, and HMO-POS options to grasping enrollment periods and eligibility criteria, we lay out the details you need for Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno. We’ll also highlight the cost considerations and how to gauge plan quality, setting you on the right path to choose a plan that fits your lifestyle and budget.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare Advantage plans in Fresno County provide various options (HMO, PPO, HMO-POS) from numerous providers, with different plans catering to diverse healthcare needs and preferences; understanding their specifics is crucial for choosing the right one.


  • Ratings and reviews, such as CMS star ratings, are critical for assessing Medicare Advantage plans’ quality; with 34% of Fresno plans earning 4 or more stars, indicating a higher standard of service, especially among non-profit organizations.


  • Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan in Fresno County involves navigating specific enrollment periods and understanding eligibility, which includes having Medicare Parts A and B and residing in the plan’s service area.

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Exploring Medicare Advantage Plans in Fresno County


Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno 2025 Exploring Medicare Advantage Plans in Fresno County


In the expansive landscape of health coverage in California, Medicare Advantage plans, also known as MA plans, offer diverse options tailored to the needs of those on Medicare. With a variety of plans from Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), to HMO-Point of Service (HMO-POS) options, it caters to a broad range of health needs and preferences.

Renowned providers such as Aetna Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aspire Health Plan, among others, offer a total of 17 unique Medicare Advantage plans in the county, providing plenty of choices for residents.

Comprehending the details of these plans will equip you better to choose one that aligns with your healthcare needs and budget. In this exploration, we will delve into the different types of plans available and the importance of understanding plan ratings and reviews.


Choosing Between HMO, PPO, and HMO-POS Plans

Examining the types of Medicare Advantage plans, HMO plans typically require members to use the plan’s local network of providers and often need referrals to see specialists unless it’s an emergency or out-of-area dialysis situation.

On the other hand, PPO plans offer flexibility to use both in-network and out-of-network providers without needing referrals for specialists, and they frequently include prescription drug coverage. This is particularly beneficial for those who travel often, as urgent and emergency care coverage is provided regardless of location.

The three types of plans offered by private companies are:

  1. HMO plans, require members to choose a primary care physician and get referrals for specialist care.
  2. PPO plans, offer more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers but may have higher out-of-pocket costs.
  3. HMO-POS plans, which provide the option to access healthcare services outside of the plan’s network for some services, often with a required referral from their primary care physician.

Each type of plan, including comprehensive coverage, comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, and comprehending these is key to picking a plan that best fits your healthcare needs and lifestyle.


Understanding Plan Ratings and Reviews

When it comes to comparing the quality of Medicare health and drug plans, the CMS star ratings serve as a valuable tool. These ratings assess up to 38 unique measures for Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage, and 28 measures for those without, providing a comprehensive assessment of the quality of health and drug services received.

In Fresno County:

  • 34% of Medicare Advantage plans have earned 4 or more stars, demonstrating their commitment to quality and service


  • No plans have achieved a 5-star rating for 2024


  • The higher ratings are often achieved by non-profit organizations


  • 72% of non-profit contracts earn 4 or more stars, suggesting that plans with more experience in the Medicare Advantage program are more likely to deliver high-quality services.


Navigating Enrollment Periods and Eligibility


Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno 2025 Navigating Enrollment Periods and Eligibility


Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan is governed by standardized periods, which include the Initial Enrollment Period, Annual Election Period, and Special Enrollment Periods. Each of these periods is designed to provide beneficiaries with ample opportunities to evaluate their healthcare needs and make informed decisions about their coverage.

Eligibility to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in Fresno County is contingent upon having Medicare Part A and Part B and living within the plan’s service area. Now, let’s delve deeper into the specifics of the Initial Coverage Election Period and the Annual Election Period.


Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)

The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) for Medicare Advantage is a crucial time that coincides with an individual’s Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare. For those turning 65, the ICEP begins three months before their birthday month and extends until either the end of the month before they enroll in Part B or the last day of their Part B initial enrollment period, whichever happens later.

The timing of enrollment can affect when coverage begins. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan before your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage starts, the plan coverage will start on the same day as your Medicare coverage.

If enrollment occurs after Medicare coverage has started, the Medicare Advantage plan coverage will commence on the first day of the month following the plan’s receipt of the enrollment request.


Annual Election Period (AEP): Time to Review Your Options

The Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. During this period, beneficiaries have the opportunity to:

  • Review their current coverage


  • Make changes to their coverage



  • Change their prescription drug coverage.


The changes made during the Annual Election Period take effect on January 1 of the following year, allowing you to start the new year with a plan that better caters to your healthcare needs. It’s an important time to review your coverage and make sure it aligns with your health and financial needs.

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The Cost-Benefit Analysis: Premiums and Coverage


Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno 2025 The Cost-Benefit Analysis: Premiums and Coverage


While considering a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to balance the costs involved, such as premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket limits. In Fresno County, the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans in 2024 is $8.32.

The average annual out-of-pocket limit is $3,859, and the average annual drug plan deductible is $80.93. These figures can vary significantly between plans, with some, like the SCAN Classic HMO plan, offering $0 premiums and a $0 drug plan deductible.

It’s also worth noting that Medicare Advantage plans can offer a layer of financial protection that isn’t provided by Original Medicare, by introducing a cap on annual spending through an out-of-pocket limit.

Enrollment in high-rated Medicare plans, especially Medicare Advantage plans, can further help reduce out-of-pocket expenses, particularly for those needing prescription medications, if these plans include Part D coverage for medications. Additionally, a Medicare supplement can provide extra coverage for certain healthcare costs not covered by Original Medicare.


Preferred Pharmacies and Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Advantage plans often provide comprehensive prescription drug coverage, which can eliminate the need for separate standalone Medicare Part D plans for prescription drugs.

This is a significant aspect to consider, as signing up for a separate standalone Part D plan can result in disenrollment from a Medicare Advantage plan if it already incorporates prescription drug coverage.

In addition to this, preferred pharmacies in certain Medicare Advantage plans offer significant cost savings, such as $0 copays for Tier 1 and Tier 2 generic drugs and reduced costs for insulin. This can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs, especially for beneficiaries who require regular medication.


Special Needs and Dual Eligibility Plans


Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno 2025 Special Needs and Dual Eligibility Plans


Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are a subset of Medicare Advantage plans that cater to individuals with specific needs. These needs can include chronic conditions, dual eligibility for both Medicare and Medicaid or institutional care requirements.

Kaiser Permanente, for example, offers Dual Special Needs Plans for members with both Medicare and Medicaid coverage, providing additional benefits to meet their specific healthcare requirements.

These specialized plans make a significant difference in meeting the unique healthcare needs of beneficiaries in Fresno County. Whether you’re considering a plan for yourself or a loved one, knowing the availability and benefits of these plans is an essential step in making an informed decision.

Access to Healthcare Providers in Fresno County


Medicare Advantage Plans Fresno 2025 Access to Healthcare Providers in Fresno County


With a Medicare Advantage plan, members in Fresno County are generally expected to utilize a local network of providers. However, the extent to which you are required to stay within this network depends on the type of plan you choose.

For instance, HMO plans typically require members to receive services from within the network. PPO plans, on the other hand, offer more flexibility, allowing members to choose both in-network and out-of-network providers, although out-of-network care may come with higher costs.

Moreover, the official Medicare website offers a tool for beneficiaries to seek out and compare Medicare-approved providers, aligning with the networks of their Medicare Advantage plans.

Quality ratings are also provided, enabling individuals in Fresno County to make informed choices about doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.


Transitioning from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage

Transitioning to Medicare Advantage requires careful assessment of health and lifestyle needs, as changes are generally restricted to the Annual Enrollment Period, barring special circumstances. The process of transferring benefits is automated when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, removing the need for beneficiaries to contact Medicare during the transition.

However, keep in mind that transitioning to a Medicare Advantage plan can affect the ability to rejoin Medigap plans subsequently, and beneficiaries may need guidance from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program on Medigap rules.

Moreover, Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits not included in Original Medicare, such as drug, dental, or vision coverage, while Original Medicare lacks an annual out-of-pocket limit.


Comparing Top Providers: SCAN Health Plan vs. Others

In Fresno County, several providers offer Medicare Advantage plans, with SCAN Health Plan standing out as one of the top providers, alongside others such as Humana Gold and Aetna Medicare.

Kaiser Permanente, while its specific star ratings for Fresno County are not provided, is known for generally receiving high CMS star ratings for its Medicare Advantage plans, indicative of quality services.

Comparing top providers based on CMS star ratings can be a helpful tool in understanding the expected level of quality and service from Medicare Advantage plans. In the next subsection, we will delve deeper into the benefits of joining a high-rated provider.


Benefits of Joining a High-Rated Provider

Joining a high-rated provider can provide a number of benefits. CMS star ratings recognize quality health and drug services, empowering Medicare consumers to make informed healthcare decisions.

High-rated Medicare Advantage plans tend to offer better customer service, scoring high in categories such as getting needed care, getting appointments and care quickly, and coordination of care.

Furthermore, high-rated providers often demonstrate better performance in managing chronic conditions, with effective measures in diabetes care and blood pressure control.

Beneficiaries enrolled in high-rated plans also tend to enjoy reduced health plan complaint measures and enhanced medication adherence. These are just a few reasons why a substantial 74% of Medicare Advantage with prescription drug (MA-PD) enrollees are in plans with 4 or more stars as of 2024.

How to Enroll in a Fresno Medicare Advantage Plan

Once you’ve chosen a Medicare Advantage plan in Fresno County, the enrollment process is quite simple. The task can be completed securely online, and it usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

This process is efficient and convenient. If you have any questions or require assistance during the process, licensed insurance agents are readily available to support you.

For additional assistance with eligibility, costs, and coverage details, representatives from providers like SCAN can provide valuable information. The goal is to make the enrollment process as smooth and stress-free as possible, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – your health and well-being.


Maximizing Your Medicare Advantage Benefits

Once enrolled, it’s essential to know how to utilize your Medicare Advantage plan benefits to the fullest. These plans often include:

  • Prescription drug coverage


  • Dental, vision, and hearing benefits


  • Gym memberships and fitness programs


  • Nutrition counseling


  • Personalized health screenings


By taking full advantage of these offerings, you can significantly enhance your health and wellness.

Preventive care services like annual physicals, vaccinations, cancer screenings, and health assessments are often provided at no extra cost if they are covered under Original Medicare and the provider is in-network.

Moreover, some plans offer additional perks such as $0 routine eye exams, vision allowances, and quarterly over-the-counter allowances for everyday items. By fully utilizing these benefits, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your Medicare Advantage plan.


Local Resources and Support for Medicare Beneficiaries

Besides the benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans, local resources are also available that provide support and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries in Fresno County. One such resource is the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).

This program provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling, education, and assistance on Medicare-related issues.

HICAP counselors, trained in Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Medicaid services, can assist beneficiaries in understanding complex insurance options to find the best fit for their needs. Furthermore, Medicare beneficiaries can attend community presentations or conferences conducted by HICAP counselors to learn more about Medicare or Medi-Cal.

These resources provide invaluable support to beneficiaries, helping to navigate the complex world of healthcare coverage.


Understanding Medicare Advantage plans in Fresno County is no small feat, but with the right information and resources, it can be a manageable task.

From exploring the different types of plans and their benefits, understanding plan ratings and reviews, navigating enrollment periods and eligibility, to comparing top providers, this comprehensive guide has covered the essentials. Remember, the choice you make can significantly impact your health and financial well-being, so take the time to make an informed decision.


Frequently Asked Questions


→ Is Medicare Advantage cheaper than Medicare?

Medicare Advantage can be cheaper than Original Medicare, as Medicare Advantage plans may have a maximum out-of-pocket limit and offer lower monthly premiums, making them a more affordable option for some individuals. This is due to the plans’ ability to keep costs relatively low.


→ What are the pitfalls of a Medicare Advantage plan?

Some potential drawbacks of Medicare Advantage plans include network restrictions and potentially higher out-of-pocket costs. Be aware of these factors when considering your healthcare options.


→ What types of Medicare Advantage plans are available in Fresno County?

In Fresno County, you can find a range of Medicare Advantage plans, such as HMO, PPO, and HMO-POS, offered by providers like Aetna Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aspire Health Plan.


→ What is the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans in Fresno County?

The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans in Fresno County is $8.32. This makes it an affordable option for residents seeking Medicare coverage.


→ What is the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)?

The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) for Medicare Advantage is a one-time period that coincides with an individual’s Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare. This period allows you to enroll in a 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.