Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area
We recommend Aetna PPOs as the best overall Medicare Advantage plans in Michigan due to cheap rates and good customer satisfaction ratings.
In Michigan, 16 insurers offer Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO-POS or PPO plans with prescription coverage at an average cost of $62 per month. Rates range from $0 to $301; everyone in Michigan can get a no-cost Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage.
How we analyze Medicare plans: We review Medicare Advantage plans for cost, availability, coverage and service, and we focus on HMOs and PPOs with prescription benefits. While they're not discussed in detail here, Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are good for people in financial need and can help policyholders save on Medicare costs.
How CMS rates Medicare plans: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a star rating system based on annual customer survey results. Members rate plans in multiple categories including delivery of health care and customer service.
Compare Medicare Advantage plans in Michigan
While several free plans are available in Michigan, Aetna's PPO plans stand out for their cheap rates, good benefits and high customer satisfaction ratings.
Aetna is also a good option for residents of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We found that fewer insurers offer plans in that area, and Aetna's competitors are more expensive or have lower customer ratings.
And while Blue Care Network (BCN) is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we highlighted BCN plans, as they have comparable benefits at cheaper rates than Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
We listed Michigan plans below in order of average cost, but our review also considers customer satisfaction ratings, plan availability and benefits. While some insurers we reviewed have higher average rates, they all offer at least one no-cost plan.
Average monthly cost
% of Michigan Medicare population who can enroll
CMS star rating
|Ascension Complete||$0||51%||Not yet rated|
|Molina Healthcare of Michigan Elite Medicare Plans||$0||79%|
|Aetna Medicare PPO||$8||92%|
|Zing Health||$13||33%||Not yet rated|
|Reliance Medicare Advantage||$20||45%||Not yet rated|
We assessed only Aetna PPOs due to Aetna's low HMO plan ratings.
Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area
You may want to avoid Molina Healthcare of Michigan and Wellcare, as surveys showed plans were not quite meeting customer needs. Molina sells one Medicare Advantage HMO in the state, and while the plan is free, members gave it a low overall satisfaction rating of 3.5 of 5. Customers who canceled Molina plans shared concerns about getting needed care, coverage for health services and out-of-pocket costs. Wellcare HMO customers also gave low satisfaction scores, citing problems with coverage of doctors and hospitals.
Should I choose an HMO or PPO plan?
When shopping for Medicare Advantage in Michigan, you have multiple plan types to choose from, including HMO, PPO and HMO-POS options. Consider these differences when selecting your plan.
- HMO plans are generally the cheapest but most restrictive option. While you could pay less out of pocket, you must choose a primary care physician to coordinate your health care and provide specialist referrals. You're limited to health care providers within the plan network and usually only within the state, except in emergencies.
- PPOs provide the freedom to choose your health care providers but are more expensive. You typically pay a higher premium, pay more when you use out-of-network providers and have a higher out-of-pocket maximum for out-of-network care.
- HMO-POS plans are a blend of HMOs and PPOs. With a POS, you may need referrals to see a specialist as you would with an HMO. You can use out-of-network providers with a POS but will pay more for out-of-network care. You're even covered if you travel to a state outside of Michigan, but your primary doctor will need to coordinate your care.
Aetna: Best cheap Medicare Advantage PPOs in Michigan
Aetna has the best cheap Medicare Advantage PPO plans in Michigan due to high customer service ratings and an average price of $8 per month.
Although Aetna sells Medicare HMO and PPO plans in Michigan, we reviewed only the PPOs. Customers are reportedly happier with the company's PPO plans, and they're available to more Michigan residents than the HMOs.
The Aetna Medicare Value PPO is good for people with low to moderate health care needs. There's no premium or deductible, and in-network primary care doctor visits are free. If you go outside the network, you'll pay $30 for a primary care visit and $60 to see a specialist.
Aetna's Value PPO includes a $60 quarterly allowance for buying over-the-counter items through the Aetna catalog or at CVS. The Value PPO is sold in 70 counties including most of the Upper Peninsula, so it's available to a large portion of Michigan Medicare enrollees.
If you live in Western Michigan, the Aetna Medicare Premier PPO may be another option to consider. But you'll pay between $11 and $26 per month for the Premier plan, or $312 annually at the highest rate. When choosing between these two plans, the Premier plan only makes sense if it will save you $312 per year in medical costs.
The Premier PPO has a low out-of-pocket maximum of $4,300, no deductible, free primary doctor visits and a $30 specialist copay. Going outside the network will cost you $20 for a primary care visit and $55 for a specialist.
The Premier plan provides a quarterly allowance of $75 toward over-the-counter items purchased through the Aetna catalog or at a CVS pharmacy. Aetna Medicare Premier PPO is sold in 46 counties — mainly in Western Michigan, so it's not available to Medicare enrollees in the Detroit area or much of the eastern part of the state.
All Aetna Medicare Advantage plans provide preventive and comprehensive vision and dental benefits at no extra charge, hearing coverage and a fitness plan.
Priority Health Medicare: Best plan selections and member perks
Priority Health offers three Medicare Advantage HMOs, six PPOs and a unique set of member perks.
All Priority Medicare plans offer traditional Medicare Advantage perks like fitness coverage, an over-the-counter drug benefit, and routine vision and dental with the option to pay more for enhanced coverage. But Priority Health's extras go further than competitor plans. The Priority Medicare Travel Pass helps you get medical care and other services while traveling outside the state and abroad, from finding a pharmacy to locating lost luggage. Members also get a free BrainHQ membership, with exercises and challenges to keep your brain healthy.
While many member perks are similar between the two insurers, Priority Health's companion care benefit is worth at least $522 per year.
- Average cost: $61/month
- Available in 68 counties or to 96% of Michigan Medicare enrollees
The Priority Medicare Value HMO-POS is a good option for patients who need insulin. The plan participates in the Insulin Savings Program, which provides 30-day supplies of insulin for $35 with no deductible.
Priority Medicare Value can cost between $16 and $72 per month, depending on where you live in the state. It includes a good drug plan, with no deductible for generics and a $75 deductible for brand and specialty drugs, which you can meet by filling just one or two prescriptions. And while the Value plan helps greatly with insulin costs, be careful to use network medical providers when you can, as you'll pay much more for out-of-network care compared to many competitor plans.
All Priority Medicare HMO plans are HMO-POS plans.
The Value HMO-POS allows the flexibility to use nonnetwork providers, but you'll pay a $1,000 deductible and then 50% of the cost for most out-of-network services, rather than set copays for your care. That's expensive, so we don't suggest using the Value plan for out-of-network coverage.
The Priority Medicare Ideal PPO provides the standard Priority Health extras and adds a companion care benefit. This perk allows up to six hours of free in-person or virtual care each month, including general companionship, help with in-home and transportation needs, technical support and other services.
Priority's Ideal PPO has a monthly premium of $24 and no annual medical deductible, whether you use providers within or outside of the network.
If you don't need coverage for insulin, this PPO is a better option than the Value HMO-POS plan — you still have the freedom to choose your medical providers, but your out-of-network health care costs are cheaper. Again there's no medical deductible, and you pay 45% of the cost for most services compared to 50% for the Value plan. But 45% is still higher than most competitor plans, so we recommend staying within the plan's medical network when you can.
Blue Care Network: Best provider network
As part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Blue Care Network plans are good if you travel or need a wide choice of health care providers.
More than 1.7 million doctors and hospitals participate with Blue Cross Blue Shield — it has the largest number of providers among U.S. insurers. And using BlueCard doctors can save members money on health care services when traveling within the U.S. and abroad.
Blue Care Network
- Average cost: $107/month
- Available in 70 counties or to 96% of Michigan Medicare enrollees
Blue Care Network (BCN) offers five HMO and HMO-POS plans in Michigan, all of which received a customer satisfaction score of 5 stars. If you're a frequent traveler, BCN plans are the best option compared to Aetna and Priority Health — the extensive BlueCard network covers you just about anywhere. And while its average rates are higher, BCN does offer some no-cost options and lower out-of-pocket maximums than Aetna and Priority Health.
The BCN Advantage Prime Value HMO-POS has no monthly premium or medical deductible. Primary doctor visits are free; you'll pay $45 to see a specialist. Once you meet the $50 drug deductible, you pay nothing for preferred generic prescriptions and $11 for generic drugs. The Value plan doesn't participate in the Insulin Savings program, so it may not be your best option if you're on insulin.
The Prime Value has a very good out-of-pocket maximum, capping your spending at $4,500 per year for both in-network and out-of-network care.
Many insurers set the combined out-of-pocket maximum at $11,500, which is the highest amount Medicare allows. With the Prime Value plan, those who max out their policy will pay $7,000 less per year out of their own pocket compared to the Medicare-allowed amount.
BCN Prime Value extras include routine vision and dental care, hearing and fitness coverage, and up to eight hours of free Care Team assistance per month if you meet certain requirements. You also get a $75 quarterly allowance toward eligible over-the-counter drugs and health-related items. This allowance includes healthy foods for those with specific medical conditions.
The BCN Advantage Classic HMO-POS plan costs an average of $80 to $129 per month, depending on where you live in Michigan. The BCN Classic plan has no drug deductible, a lower annual out-of-pocket maximum and cheaper specialist visits than the BCN Prime Value plan. But even with those cheaper out-of-pocket costs, the high monthly premium makes the BCN Classic more expensive than BCN's Prime Value plan over the year.
The BCN Advantage Classic does have better coverage, cheaper overall costs and a better provider network than Priority Medicare's Value Plan, but BCN's Advantage Prime Value plan is the best deal of the three.
BCN Advantage Classic extras include routine vision and dental care, hearing coverage and fitness coverage. You also get a $25 quarterly allowance toward eligible over-the-counter drugs and health-related items. This allowance includes healthy foods for those with certain medical conditions.
All BCN HMO-POS members have access to the nationwide BlueCard provider network while traveling outside of Michigan and a nurse hotline to call for medical guidance at any time.
Medicare Advantage in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Medicare enrollees living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula have slightly fewer plan options than those in the rest of the state. Blue Care Network and Priority Health do not sell plans anywhere in the Upper Peninsula, but most residents can get coverage through these other insurers. We recommend Aetna for Upper Peninsula residents based on its cheap costs and good customer ratings.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
- Upper Peninsula Health Plan
How do I select a Medicare Advantage plan?
Depending on where you live, you will have between 14 and 68 Medicare Advantage options from 16 insurers in Michigan. You'll choose a plan when you first become eligible for Medicare and can switch yearly during open enrollment. When shopping for a new plan, it's best to start early so you can get your application in on time.
Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for a plan:
- Are your prescriptions covered?
- If you need help with insulin costs, does the plan participate in the Insulin Savings Program?
- Do you need enhanced dental benefits or coverage for dentures?
- Do your preferred health care providers accept the plan?
- Are plan costs within your budget?
- Does the plan offer additional perks, such as fitness memberships, transportation benefits or meal delivery?
It's a good idea to review plans carefully, whether you're newly eligible for Medicare or looking to make a change during open enrollment.
Frequently asked questions
Is Medicare Advantage available in Michigan?
Yes, Medicare Advantage plans are available throughout Michigan. Sixteen insurers offer HMO, PPO and HMO-POS plans with drug coverage across the state. Depending on where you live in Michigan, you'll have between 14 and 68 Medicare Advantage plans to choose from.
Which Michigan counties have the most Medicare Advantage plans?
Oakland and Wayne counties, both part of metropolitan Detroit, offer the most Medicare Advantage plans in Michigan. Residents have 68 plans to choose from in Oakland County and 62 options in Wayne County.
What is the best Medicare Advantage plan in Michigan?
Aetna PPO plans are the best cheap options in Michigan based on their low cost and high customer service ratings. The average price for an Aetna PPO is $8 per month, and the Aetna Medicare Value PPO is available where 92% of Michigan Medicare enrollees live.
Who is eligible for Medicare in Michigan?
You're eligible for Medicare in Michigan — or anywhere in the U.S. — if you are or are turning 65 and paid into Social Security while working. You may be eligible to get Medicare earlier than age 65 if you have a disability, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
How do I apply for Medicare in Michigan?
You apply for Medicare through the Social Security Administration. You only need to apply if you don't get Medicare automatically at age 65 or if you qualify due to a disability. Use this Medicare.gov resource to guide you through how and when to apply.
Methodology and sources
Medicare plan data is sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) public use files and from Medicare.gov. We compared 2022 plans based on cost, coverage, quality and availability. When needed, we combined affiliated company rates to calculate insurer averages.
Our analysis of Medicare Advantage plans in Michigan excludes plans that do not provide prescription drug coverage, employer group plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs). We use state-specific data rather than nationwide numbers when comparing CMS plan ratings.