Find Cheap Health Insurance Quotes in Your Area
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, provides health coverage that is more extensive than what is offered through Medicare Part A and B. Available through private-sector health insurers, you are eligible to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan only after you enroll in Medicare Part A and B. Below, we have provided our analysis of the best Medicare Advantage plans available in 2020.
Best Medicare Advantage companies of 2020
The best Medicare Advantage will depend on what you value in your health insurance. For example, if you are looking for cheap coverage then purchasing a plan with the largest provider network that is expensive would not make sense. On the other hand, if you require health care specialists then purchasing a plan with that diverse provider network would be something to consider.
Best overall Medicare Advantage: Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Foundation Health plan, offered by Kaiser Permanente, has been the best overall rated Medicare Advantage policy rated by consumers since 2017. This is illustrated through J.D. Power's customer satisfaction survey, which shows that Kaiser has a perfect five-power circle rating in four of the seven categories surveyed.
However, Kaiser Permanente policies are one of the more expensive Medicare Advantage plans in the marketplace. You have the option to choose between either the Senior Advantage Basic or the regular Senior Advantage, which have monthly premiums of $44 and $127 respectively. If you were to select the higher cost policy you would receive other benefits, such as lower out-of-pocket payments for urgent care, inpatient hospitalization and ambulance services.
Best cheap Medicare Advantage: Aetna
A cheap Medicare Advantage policy that also provides standard coverage can be purchased through Aetna. Like other Medicare Advantage plans, an Aetna policy would provide you the standard Medicare A and B along with added benefits. However, added benefits such as primary care physician copays will be more expensive when compared to a policy like Kaiser Permanente's Senior Advantage Basic.
On the other hand, costs are cheap — Aetna's Medicare Elite Plan typically costs $34 per month while the Aetna Medicare Premier Plan charges $83 per month.
Best provider network Medicare Advantage: Highmark
Highmark is rated as having the best provider choice within the J.D. Power survey. This means that Medicare Advantage policyholders rate Highmark as having a wide selection of primary care physicians, doctors, specialist doctors, retail clinics and urgent care centers.
Having a vast and abundant provider network can be crucial for many seniors who may not want to travel long distances to visit an in-network doctor. Additionally, you may have a preferred doctor and want to choose a policy that includes that doctor in-network.
Highmark offers three different levels of Medicare Advantage: Community, Freedom and Security. The main differences between the levels are the monthly premiums, coinsurance and deductibles that you would be required to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance kicks-in.
For example, the lowest level, Community Blue Medicare Distinct, has a monthly premium of $35 but a high out-of-pocket maximum of $5,900. On the other hand, the highest level, Security Blue Deluxe, would have a monthly premium of $267.50, with an out-of-pocket maximum of $4,500.
Medicare Advantage company ratings
Medicare Advantage providers are given grades from rating agencies on different factors like financial strength and customer reviews. These metrics can be extremely useful when you are trying to analyze an insurance company and choose your best provider. Some of the most common third-party ratings can include:
- A.M. Best: A.M. Best is a credit rating agency that gives Medicare Advantage providers a financial health score. A++ or "Superior" is the top grade available and usually any company above A- is in an above-average financial situation.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB rating system is a grade given to a company between A+ and F, which is determined by the complaint history and how responsive the company is to complaints.
- J.D. Power: J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company that ranks some of the best Medicare Advantage companies on their customer satisfaction. Its rankings give each provider a number between 0 and 1,000 and use rating factors like price, customer satisfaction, policy offerings and interaction.
By reviewing all these ratings, you can get an excellent picture of the inner workings of many providers. Then, looking at policy prices, you can determine the best Medicare Advantage companies for you.
How to choose the best Medicare Advantage plan
Choosing your best Medicare Advantage plan will depend on the cost, amount of coverage and the provider network of the policy. These will vary greatly when comparing insurers but will also differ between the plans that each provider offers. That’s why it’s important to understand each of these categories and how it will change your Medicare health insurance.
Costs, coverage and benefits
Medicare Advantage costs include your monthly premium, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, copays and coinsurance. The monthly premium for a policy usually determines the level of the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. For example, if you select a plan with a higher monthly premium, then usually the deductible and amount you would need to pay out-of-pocket are cheaper.
Additionally, plans usually have copays for certain health events, such as visits to a primary care physician or inpatient care. If you decide to select a cheaper Medicare Advantage plan, your copays may be more expensive.
Some Medicare Advantage policies include added benefits, such as fitness programs, dental care, vision care or online concierge services. You should take these into account before deciding what is the best Medicare Advantage plan for you.
Provider networks are typically associated with the health insurance provider that is offering the Medicare Advantage plan. This means the company usually sets and negotiates the relationships with the doctors. For this reason, it is important to carefully review the network — either HMO, PPO, EPO or POS — for each company you are considering.
For example, if you have a preferred primary care physician who you have used throughout your life, we would recommend confirming with that doctor that they are within the new network for the policy you are choosing to purchase.