What's the Best Medicare Advantage Plan in 2024?

Humana has the best Medicare Advantage plans for 2024 because of its good ratings and affordable costs.

Humana has the best Medicare Advantage plans because of its good coverage and plans with no monthly cost. AARP/UHC sells the most popular plans, while Blue Cross Blue Shield is accepted by the most doctors. Kaiser Permanente is a good choice if you want an easy customer experience — Cigna, however, has the cheapest Medicare Advantage plans.

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Overall, you'll see lower Medicare Advantage plan ratings in 2024 compared to 2023. However, Medicare Advantage plans can still provide high-quality coverage. Much of this shift comes from how ratings were calculated during the pandemic and other changes to Medicare.gov's methodology, rather than the plans actually getting worse.

Medicare Advantage — also known as Medicare Part C — is a bundled insurance plan that covers a full set of health benefits including hospital stays, doctor care and often prescription drugs, dental and vision. This makes it a great way to simplify your insurance and get coverage that's at least as good as Original Medicare (Parts A and B).

Best Medicare Advantage plans overall: Humana

  • Overall rating

  • Average monthly cost: $31

Why it's great: Humana offers a wide range of free Medicare Advantage plans that are well-rated and have great prescription benefits.

Humana's high plan quality, widespread availability and free plan options make it the best Medicare Advantage company in 2024.

Humana has free plan options throughout the U.S. — they’re available in every state except Alaska, where Medicare Advantage plans aren’t available from any company. It’s a great choice for budget shoppers and anyone looking for a high-quality plan.

Humana Medicare Advantage pros and cons

Pros

  • Free plans available to most people
  • More than half the plans cover prescription drugs right away
  • Variety of options lets you tailor your coverage

Cons

  • Has fewer 5-star plans than some other companies
  • PPO plans Can be expensive

Humana has the best Medicare Advantage plans for 2024 because of its high quality ratings, good customer satisfaction, widespread availability and numerous $0-per-month plans.

Current customers say the quality of health care they get with a Humana Medicare Advantage plan is better than with AARP/UHC. Plus, Humana's customer service is slightly better than the industry average, so you may have fewer frustrations if you need to call the company for help.

Humana has free HMO and PPO plan options, but its free PPO plans are more limited. So if you prefer a PPO but don't have access to one of Humana's $0 plans, AARP/UnitedHealthcare may be a better option.

Humana sells several types of Medicare Advantage plans. The most popular plan types are HMOs and PPOs.

  • HMOs are good if the medical care you get is typically routine. With an HMO, you’ll have to use a primary care doctor and be referred to specialists. You’ll also have to stay within the plan's network of doctors to have coverage.
  • PPOs give you more flexibility to see different doctors, and you don't need a referral to see a specialist. PPOs are usually more expensive than HMOs.

Humana's Medicare Advantage plans usually have good prescription drug benefits. About 58% of Humana's plans cover prescription drugs right away, since they have no drug deductible. Plus, CenterWell, Humana's mail order pharmacy, continues to rank highly for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power's latest study.

Further, Humana also offers useful add-on benefits, like access to the popular SilverSneakers fitness program, discounts on dental work, vision care discounts and resources for nutrition and weight loss.

Medicare Advantage company ratings for 2024

Most popular Medicare Advantage plans: AARP/UnitedHealthcare

  • Overall rating

  • Average monthly cost: $17

Why it's great: AARP/UHC plans are highly rated and come with useful extra perks.

UnitedHealthcare is the most popular Medicare Advantage company, with 29% of all active plans.

AARP/UnitedHealthcare plans typically have low monthly rates and come with helpful benefits, including an allowance for items like toothpaste, vitamins and cold medicine. UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are available nationwide, except in Alaska.

AARP/UHC Medicare Advantage pros and cons

Pros

  • Wide variety of plan options, including many with low or no monthly costs
  • Extra perks usually include dental, vision and hearing coverage
  • PPO plans are cheaper than average

Cons

  • Customer satisfaction is below average
  • May be more difficult to get care than with other plans
  • Some plans have a high out-of-pocket maximum

UnitedHealthcare sells Medicare Advantage plans through several partnerships, but its plans sold with AARP are among the best and most popular options available. UnitedHealthcare is one of the largest health insurance companies in the country, which makes it easier for you to find covered medical care.

AARP/UHC plans stand out for their range of add-on programs and discounts, including vision, dental, free gym memberships, mental fitness and a credit toward over-the-counter products. These programs can be especially useful for those who want to stay healthy on a budget.

For most people, AARP's prescription drug benefits offer good coverage. Plans have an average annual drug deductible of $103, which means you’ll only pay $103 for covered medications before your benefits start.

And if you need expensive medications, many plans provide benefits during the coverage gap (also called the donut hole). This is an important benefit that can protect those with high prescription drug costs from paying more for medications at some point in the policy year.

While AARP/UHC has the same rating as Humana on Medicare.gov, it does have a lower customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Power. In addition, customers report that they sometimes have problems getting the care they need with AARP/UHC plans. Before buying a plan, it might be helpful to talk to members in your area to learn about their experience.

Popularity of Medicare Advantage companies

Easiest access to doctors and hospitals: Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Overall rating

  • Average monthly cost: $40

Why it's great: Over 90% of doctors and specialists accept Blue Cross Blue Shield, which makes it easy for you to get medical care.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has one of the biggest doctor networks in the country, which gives you more options for covered medical care.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the best health insurance companies to get a Medicare Advantage plan from, especially if you want to easily use your plan at a variety of medical offices. However, BCBS plans tend to be more expensive than average.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage pros and cons

Pros

  • Can access a wider range of doctors, depending on your plan
  • Costs can be as low as $0 per month
  • Fewer complaints than average

Cons

  • Each BCBS company is independent, so benefits and satisfaction vary
  • High average rates
  • Not available in Washington, D.C. or Wyoming

In general, Medicare Advantage plans from BCBS are more expensive than plans from some other providers. But the extra cost might be worth it especially if you see a range of different doctors and need a plan that gives you coverage at most medical offices. Plus, most areas have access to at least one BCBS plan that doesn't have a monthly rate.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is made up of smaller companies. Each company is independent, which means the plan offerings, customer satisfaction and perks can vary widely between companies. The list of in-network providers also varies between plans. Buying a PPO plan is a good way to make sure you have broader access to medical care, though you will pay a higher monthly rate.

While BCBS has an overall good rating of 3.7 stars out of 5, each subsidiary is managed independently, which means that there are major regional variations. The highest-performing Blue Cross subsidiaries are in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The lowest-rated plans are in California.

Each health insurance company publicizes its own doctor network figures, and the calculations can vary. However, the overall trends can give you an idea of how easy it can be to find covered health care in your area.

  • BCBS/Anthem: 90% of doctors and hospitals
  • Cigna: 1.5 million health care providers, clinics and facilities
  • AARP/UHC: 1.3 million health care providers
  • Aetna: 1.2 million health care providers
  • Humana: 560,000 providers in the ChoiceCare and Behavioral Health networks
  • Centene/WellCare: 238,000 physicians
  • Kaiser Permanente: 80,000 physicians and nurses

Best Medicare Advantage for customer satisfaction: Kaiser Permanente

  • Overall rating

  • Average monthly cost: $46

Why it's great: Kaiser Permanente's customers are typically highly satisfied with their plans, making it a good choice for those who value good customer service.

Kaiser Permanente has excellent customer satisfaction and good quality plans.

If you live in an area where Kaiser Permanente sells policies, it could be worth it to get a quote. Although the company's average rate is high, plans with no monthly fee are available to most people who have access to Kaiser Permanente. However, plans are only available in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage pros and cons

Pros

  • Customers are very happy with plans
  • It's a popular choice in areas where its plans are sold
  • Getting medical care is streamlined and simple

Cons

  • Can have higher monthly costs
  • Only offered in eight states and Washington, D.C.
  • Less flexibility to pick your doctor(s), as plans are paired with Kaiser health facilities

Kaiser Permanente has very high rates of customer satisfaction, making it a good choice for those willing to pay for a more expensive plan in order to get good benefits.

Plans cost an average of $46 per month, though $0-per-month options are available. Plus, many plans have a $0 deductible, which means you have coverage right away. And because most plans have no deductible for drugs, you have coverage for medications immediately, too.

However, Kaiser's plans have a limited provider network. That's because Kaiser also owns and operates medical centers and hospitals, and the company pairs its plans with its medical offices. This can be a helpful way to streamline your care, since you can manage your health records and insurance coverage through the same online portal. Plus, customers rate the quality of their medical care very highly, making access to Kaiser's health facilities a key benefit of the plans.

The downside is you’ll have less flexibility in where you get your medical care. Even though you still have broad coverage during emergencies, these plans won’t be a good fit for those who prefer a wide network of health care providers. In particular, those who need specialized medical care should check that the in-network providers can meet their health needs.

Customers with Kaiser Permanente can also choose to add the insurer's Advantage Plus package, which provides coverage for dental services, hearing aids and eyewear.

J.D. Power satisfaction ratings by company

Cheapest Medicare Advantage plans: Cigna

  • Overall rating

  • Average monthly cost: $7

Why it's great: Cigna offers cheap prices for Medicare Advantage plans — and its PPO plans are an especially good value, costing only $3 per month on average.

Cigna has some of the cheapest Medicare Advantage rates available, making it a good choice for budget shoppers.

If you want to be able to see any doctor and still have some coverage, Cigna could be a good choice. Its PPO plans are cheaper than its HMO plans, which means you’ll pay less and get more flexibility. Cigna also generally has good customer service for its Medicare Advantage plans.

Cigna Medicare Advantage pros and cons

Pros

  • Cheap rates and many no-cost plans available
  • PPO plans are cheap and give you flexibility regarding your doctor(s)
  • Several no-deductible plans, which give you coverage right away

Cons

  • You could pay for a large portion of your medical bills
  • Only available in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

Cigna's Medicare Advantage plans are the best option for those who want cheap rates. Most of Cigna's plans are available for no monthly cost on top of what you pay for Original Medicare.

In particular, Cigna's PPO plans can be an especially good value if you want flexibility in the doctors and medical providers you choose. The average monthly rate for a Cigna PPO plan is $3 per month. Plus, many PPO plans are available at no monthly cost, which is a good deal because PPO plans typically cost more than HMO plans.

Cigna's plans also have good prescription drug coverage: On average, you'll pay just $24 per year for your covered medications before the plan kicks in.

But with a Cigna plan, you could pay for a large portion of your health care costs. The average out-of-pocket maximum is around $5,400. This means you could spend up to $5,400 if you need expensive medical care, like a surgery or hospital stay.

Cost of Medicare Advantage plans in 2024

Worst Medicare Advantage plans

Clear Spring Health, Molina and WellCare have the worst Medicare Advantage plans in 2024.

These companies all have low ratings. But although their average rates are low, you can likely get a cheap or free Medicare Advantage plan from a company with higher ratings.

Company
Rating
Average monthly cost
Clear Spring Health
$0
Molina
$0
WellCare
$9

Of note, WellCare isn't a good choice for Medicare Advantage plans, but it does have the best standalone Part D drug plan available.

List of the top-rated Medicare Advantage plans by state

The best Medicare Advantage plan for you also depends on where you live. Insurance companies may offer plans in limited areas, and plan quality and customer satisfaction can vary based on where you live. If you're looking for the highest-rated coverage, consider one of the companies offering 5-star plans somewhere in your state.

Companies that offer 5-star Medicare Advantage plans

State
Companies
AlabamaUnitedHealthcare
VIVA Health
ArizonaUnitedHealthcare
ArkansasEssence Healthcare
CaliforniaSharp Health Plan
ColoradoSelectHealth
UnitedHealthcare
Show All Rows

Alaska doesn’t currently have any available Medicare Advantage plans. Most Medicare enrollees choose to enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) with supplemental coverage from a private Medigap plan, employer plan or Medicaid.


How to choose the best Medicare Advantage plan

Choosing your best Medicare Advantage plan will depend on your monthly budget and how much medical care you think you'll need. The plans available where you live will also affect your decision. Comparing Medicare Advantage plans is the best way to find the right option for you.

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Compare monthly costs

Often, there's a trade-off between a plan's monthly rate and how much coverage it provides. Lower-priced plans tend to mean you'll pay more when you go to the doctor. This isn't always true, though, so it's important to review your options — many free Medicare Advantage plans still have robust coverage.

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Think about how much health care you might need

To find the right plan, you should match your medical needs to the plan's benefits. For example, if you expect to need an expensive medical treatment or surgery in the coming year, look for a plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum. Even if it costs more each month, you could save money overall since the plan will pay for more of your medical bills.

If you have low or average medical needs, look closely at each plan's deductible and the coinsurance or copayment, which is how much you'll pay before your coverage kicks in.

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Look at provider networks

Medicare Advantage plans have a list of preferred doctors and medical providers. An HMO plan will only cover your medical care if you go to one of these in-network providers. With a PPO plan, you'll pay less if you stay in-network for medical care, but you'll still have some coverage if you go outside the network.

Carefully review the network of each plan you're considering to make sure it works with your medical needs. For example, if you have a doctor you want to continue seeing, make sure that doctor is in the plan's network. And if you don't want to wait for a referral to see specialists, choose a PPO.

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Review the extra perks

Some Medicare Advantage policies include added benefits, like fitness programs, dental care, vision care or nurse call lines. You should take these into account before deciding what the best Medicare Advantage plan is for you. But don't choose your plan just based on the added perks — it's always more important to make sure the medical and prescription drug coverage works for you.


Frequently asked questions

What is the best Medicare Advantage plan?

Humana has the best Medicare Advantage plans in 2024 for most people because of its combination of high ratings, good benefits and no-monthly-cost plans. AARP/UnitedHealthcare is a good choice for its popular plans, and Kaiser Permanente is good for its outstanding customer service.

What Medicare plan has the best dental coverage?

Medicare Advantage plans from AARP/UnitedHealthcare have some of the best dental benefits. You'll get coverage for a wide network of dentists — plus, routine or preventive services are free if you stay in-network. However, dental coverage for more complex procedures will vary for the $0 plans. Some plans may cap their dental benefits, only paying $1,000 per policy year. Others don't have a cap, but will instead require you to pay more for each dental service.

What’s the best way to compare Medicare Advantage plans?

When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, consider both the plan's costs and its coverage. For cost, think about the total amount that you'll pay for health care and insurance. In some cases, you'll get a better deal by paying more for a policy that has better benefits, as it’ll help you to save on your medical bills. For coverage, make sure a plan gives you strong benefits in the areas you expect to need the most, such as diabetes care, prescription drugs or inpatient surgery.

Methodology

Medicare Advantage company reviews and comparisons are based on a variety of rating factors including cost, coverage, benefits and provider networks. The CMS star ratings featured are averages of each company's individual contracts.

Plan details were sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) public use files. Calculations are based on 2024 Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage. Special needs plans, sanctioned plans, PACE plans, prepayment plans (HCPPs), Medicare savings account (MSA) plans, Medicare-Medicaid plans and employer-sponsored plans were excluded from our analysis. Averages include company subsidiaries.

Other sources include Kaiser Family Foundation for plan popularity and J.D. Power for Medicare Advantage and pharmacy satisfaction ratings.

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Availability of benefits and plans varies by carrier and location and may be limited to certain times of the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. QWIS does not offer every plan available in your area. Any information provided is limited to those plans offered in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.

Deductibles, copays, coinsurance, limitations, and exclusions may apply.

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