8 Tips for Finding the Best Medicare Advantage Plan for 2024
If you’re interested in purchasing a Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plan, you’re not alone. In 2023, there were more than 30.8 million Medicare Advantage enrollees, which accounted for 51% of the Medicare population and $454 billion of total Medicare spending.1
You may be wondering how best to go about the shopping process. Here are a few tips for finding the Medicare Advantage Plan that’s just right for your individual needs.
|Learn the Types of Plans Available
|Get to Know the Major Providers
|Look Closely at Each Plan
|Look at the Star Rating
|Which Benefits Mean Most to You?
|What Is the Cost Factor?
|What Benefits Do You Already Have?
|Know How Medicare Advantage Works
1. Learn the Type of Medicare Advantage Plans Available
The following are types of Medicare Advantage Plans from which you may choose:
- Health Maintenance Organization plans (HMO): structured around a network of medical services
- Preferred Provider Organization plans (PPO): offer more out-of-network options but may charge higher rates for them
- Private Fee-for-Service plans (PFFS): covers care from any Medicare-approved doctor or provider so long as they accept the approved fee
- Medicare Savings Account plans (MSA): combine your health plan with a high-deductible medical savings account
- Special Needs Plans (SNPs): which offers specialized benefits to people meeting certain characteristics
2. Get to Know the Major Providers
The following carriers offer plans in the majority of states, but your location will determine the exact plans offered to you:
- AARP Medicare Advantage
- Aetna Medicare Advantage
- Anthem Medicare Advantage
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage
- Cigna Medicare Advantage
- Humana Medicare Advantage
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage
- UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage
- WellCare Medicare Advantage
3. Look Closely at Each Plan
Here are some things to think about when evaluating if a plan is the best Medicare Advantage Plan for you:
- Whether your doctor or provider is in-network
- If the costs fit your individual financial situation
- If the plan covers medications and services that you will need
- Whether you are okay with getting a referral to see a specialist
4. Look at the Star Rating
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services release their Star Ratings for Medicare Advantage on an annual basis, with plans rated on a scale of one to five stars. The higher the rating, the better the evaluation of the plan’s performance in the following areas:
- Maintaining health
- Chronic disease management
- Member experience
- Member complaints
- Customer service
Plans that receive higher star ratings usually have higher customer satisfaction rates. According to CMS, Medicare Advantage plans offering drug coverage have an overall rating of four stars or higher in 2023 – up from 49% in 2021.2
To see Medicare Advantage star ratings and other relevant plan information, check out our Medicare Advantage Plan quoting tool.
5. Which Benefits Mean Most to You?
When shopping for a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s helpful to identify which benefits are most significant to you and your health needs. Medicare Advantage offers everything offered in Original Medicare Part A and Part B as well as additional benefits such as:
- Prescription drugs
- Medical transportation
- Gym memberships
Some plans offer seemingly attractive features such as $0 premiums and the Part B giveback benefit. While these elements of themselves can be appealing, keep in mind that they may come at the cost of other benefits that you may need more.
6. What Is the Cost Factor?
Many Medicare Advantage Plans have low monthly premiums, with some plans even starting at $0 a month.
While the monthly premiums might be low, they aren’t the only cost factor for these plans. You’ll want to consider:
- Monthly premium
- Part B premium
- Drug deductible
- In-network yearly deductible
- Copays and coinsurance
- Out-of-pocket maximums for in- and out-of-network
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Since these costs can add up, it’s important that you carefully evaluate plans to see which is the most financially wise for your individual situation.
To see Medicare Advantage premiums and other relevant plan costs, check out our Medicare Advantage Plan quoting tool.
7. What Benefits Do You Already Have?
When reviewing Medicare Advantage plans, consider the type of benefits you’re already receiving so that you don’t duplicate them. For example:
If you’ve already added Part D onto Original Medicare: Most Medicare Advantage Plans include Part D coverage, so you may be able to drop your Part D Plan.
If you’ve enrolled in Medigap: You can’t have Medigap and Medicare Advantage at the same time,
so you will need to drop your Medigap Plan before enrolling in MA.
It still doesn’t hurt to do a cost comparison to see if enrolling in Medicare Advantage may save you money in the long run. If you have any questions, call a licensed Ensurem agent at the number on this page.
8. Know How Medicare Advantage Works
Medicare Advantage Plans are privately sold by approved companies that must follow Medicare rules. Most Medicare Advantage Plans also offer prescription drug coverage along with other extended benefits including vision, dental, hearing and fitness memberships.
Typically, these plans offer a network of approved physicians and providers. Each plan may charge differently for out-of-pocket costs, and many require you to get a referral to see a specialist. Moreover, these rules can change annually.
The Bottom Line
Opting for a Medicare Advantage Plan can be a good decision if your personal situation merits it.
There are thousands of Medicare Advantage Plans available throughout the country, and you’ll likely have access to a handful of them.
Choosing the right one will ensure you have all the benefits you need with less of a chance for unexpected
But what if, after you’ve done your homework, you’re still not sure if this choice is for you? We’re here to help. Call a licensed Ensurem agent at the number on this page to speak with someone who is experienced with plans in your area.
Ensurem Trusted Expertise
Education is crucial in finding the right Medicare solution for you. With so many Medicare resources out there, it can be difficult finding a source you can trust. That’s why Ensurem has a Compliance Program dedicated to ensuring our Medicare content meets Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations. So, you can rest assured you’re getting the information you need to make the right coverage decisions.
1“Medicare Advantage in 2023: Enrollment Update and Key Trends,” Kaiser Family Foundation, (Accessed 9/26/23)
2 “CMS Releases 2023 Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings to Help People with Medicare Compare Plans,” CMS.gov (Accessed 9/26/23)
Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador
Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine
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