Best Cheap Medicare Plans in Colorado 2022

Best Cheap Medicare Plans in Colorado 2022

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We recommend UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser as the best overall Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado. Aetna has the best cheap plans in the state.

We recommend UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente as the best overall Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado. Customers are happy with their plans and how well they're serviced, as reflected in the high star ratings received from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Aetna has the best cheap plans in Colorado, with a good customer satisfaction rating and low monthly costs, including some $0-premium plans.

The average Colorado Medicare Advantage rate of $21 per month is below the nationwide average of $33 per month. But not everyone in the state can get a Medicare Advantage policy, as they're not sold in some Colorado counties.

How we chose these Medicare plans: To find the best Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado, we reviewed average costs, quality ratings and availability. We also considered plan benefits and costs like deductibles and copayments.
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Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado

Anthem has the cheapest 4-star options in Colorado, with $0 premiums for all plans sold in the state. Kaiser and UnitedHealthcare have the best overall plans and are highly rated, but their average prices can be higher than those of competitors.

Colorado residents have nine insurance providers and a combined 67 Medicare Advantage plans to choose from. But options vary based on where you live, and there are no Medicare Advantage plans sold at all in eight Colorado counties. In each of the 56 Colorado counties where Medicare Advantage is available, at least one free plan is offered.

Average Medicare Advantage costs in Colorado

Is Medicare Advantage sold everywhere in Colorado?

No, Medicare Advantage is not available in every county in Colorado. Residents in the below counties won't have access to a Medicare Advantage plan, but Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are sold in each of these areas. Medigap plans are private insurance policies that cover the costs left over after Medicare pays its portion for your health care services.

  • Baca
  • Cheyenne
  • Kiowa
  • Kit Carson
  • Phillips
  • Prowers
  • Sedgwick
  • Yuma

Top-ranking Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado

Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare offer the highest-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado.

UnitedHealthcare

  • 4.4 stars
  • Average cost: $13 per month

Read our full review

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Although UnitedHealthcare doesn't have a perfect 5-star rating, it has a good range of HMO and PPO options that are available to most Medicare enrollees in Colorado. With 19 plans in 44 Colorado counties, UnitedHealthcare has the largest plan selection in the state, and only one competitor sells policies in more counties than UnitedHealthcare.

UnitedHealthcare, which offers AARP Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado, has several plans with no premium and no medical or drug deductible. Copays for primary doctor visits and some routine care are low or even free, but you will pay a copay for other services such as an inpatient hospital stay. UnitedHealthcare plans also offer fitness benefits and free dental exams, subject to plan coverage limits.

UnitedHealthcare has several cheap or $0-premium plans throughout Colorado, including the AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens PPO. This plan works well for those with less frequent health care needs since you can pay for your care as you need it, rather than pay a monthly bill for benefits you may not use. With a PPO you don't need referrals and are not restricted to a specific network of doctors and hospitals, but you're more likely to face a higher copay when visiting a specialist.

The midlevel UnitedHealthcare option is the AARP Medicare Advantage Choice Plan 3 PPO at $24 per month. This plan is a great option if you receive medical care fairly regularly or need extra dental services. The Choice Plan 3 PPO plan has benefits and office copays similar to the Walgreens PPO and provides the same flexibility to use out-of-network providers. But the $24-per-month price does provide some upgrades, such as a lower copay if you have to stay in the hospital and extra dental benefits.

A more expensive UnitedHealthcare plan is the AARP Medicare Advantage SecureHorizons Plan 1 HMO, costing $44 per month. This plan works well for those with regular health needs who want a set monthly premium and lower out-of-pocket costs.

This HMO has no medical or drug deductible and low office visit copays — $0 for a primary care visit and $20 for a specialist. SecureHorizons has the lowest out-of-pocket maximum and the lowest inpatient hospital copay of the three plans listed here. Like the midrange plan, the SecureHorizons plan provides enhanced dental benefits up to plan limits.

Kaiser Permanente

  • 5.0 stars
  • Average cost: $60 per month

Read our full review

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Kaiser Permanente offers six Medicare Advantage HMOs in 15 Colorado counties, with rates ranging from $0 per month for the Senior Advantage Core plan to $186 per month for the Senior Advantage Gold.

For a middle-range plan, we recommend the Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage Silver HMO for $38 per month. The Silver option offers more dental coverage and lower out-of-pocket costs than Kaiser's $0 plan. For example, you pay $5 less for every specialist visit, and your out-of-pocket maximum is $800 lower than with the Kaiser Senior Advantage Core HMO.

With the Core, Silver and Gold plans, you have no medical or drug deductible and pay nothing for a primary care visit. The prescription benefit is identical among these three policy options, so you won't gain or lose any drug coverage when choosing the Silver plan.

Kaiser has an overall CMS rating of 5 stars, meaning customers are happy with their health services and overall customer experience.

Kaiser plans are available in the following counties:

  • Adams
  • Arapahoe
  • Boulder
  • Broomfield
  • Clear Creek
  • Denver
  • Douglas
  • El Paso
  • Elbert
  • Gilpin
  • Jefferson
  • Larimer
  • Park
  • Pueblo
  • Weld

Best cheap Medicare Advantage in Colorado

Anthem and Aetna both stand out in Colorado for having a combination of cheap overall prices and good customer satisfaction. Customers are happy with their plans and have few complaints about the service they receive.

Anthem earned a star rating of 4.0 and offers two $0-premium plans across 13 Colorado counties. And while not all Aetna plans are free, the average premium is just $9 per month. The company has a 3.8 CMS star rating and offers eight plans in 14 Colorado counties.

Clear Spring Health and Cigna both offer $0 plans in Colorado. But Clear Spring is not yet rated by CMS, and the Cigna star rating of 3.5 shows that customers are not as happy with Cigna compared to some competitors.

Anthem

  • 4.0 stars
  • Average cost: $0 per month

Read our full review

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In Colorado, Anthem earned the highest CMS rating among insurers that only offer $0-premium plans. But plans are not widely available, as there are only two options sold in 13 Colorado counties.

Anthem is an affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield. The company sells plans across the U.S. and has one of the largest provider networks available.

Anthem offers two Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado: Anthem MediBlue Plus HMO and Anthem MediBlue Access PPO. Both options have no premium and no medical or drug deductible, so your plan benefits kick in right away. Primary care visits are free with both plans, and routine hearing, dental and vision exams are free when using network providers.

The PPO allows the option to use nonnetwork providers, but that will increase your costs. For example, the out-of-pocket maximum is $6,700 for both plans as long as you use in-network providers. But the PPO out-of-pocket maximum increases to $10,000 when you go outside the network.

With an HMO you must use network providers except in emergencies, which usually makes an HMO a cheaper option compared to a similar PPO. But if you enroll in the Anthem PPO and use only network providers, you'll save money. Your overall copays are cheaper with the PPO, and you'll save on other costs like nonemergency transportation, home safety products and dental care. With Anthem's extensive provider listing, you should have no problem finding a participating doctor.

Anthem plans are available in the following counties:

  • Adams
  • Arapahoe
  • Boulder
  • Broomfield
  • Denver
  • Douglas
  • El Paso
  • Jefferson
  • Larimer
  • Mesa
  • Pueblo
  • Teller
  • Weld

Aetna

  • 3.8 stars
  • Average cost: $9 per month

Read our full review

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Aetna sells three HMO and two PPO policies in 14 Colorado counties, but plan choices will vary depending on where you live. The Aetna Medicare Prime PPO costs $47 per month, while all other plans have no monthly premium.

The Aetna Medicare Prime 1 HMO-POS plan has a $0 premium, no medical or drug deductible, and no copay for in-network primary care visits. This plan is best for those who want to save on health insurance costs and are able to work within Aetna's provider network.

Your typical annual out-of-pocket costs for the Prime 1 HMO, including copays and coinsurance, would be no more than $4,500. The prescription benefit is a good deal — you pay $10 for a generic prescription and nothing for a preferred generic drug.

The most expensive Aetna policy in Colorado is the Prime PPO at $47 per month. This plan is best for those who need the flexibility to use out-of-network providers.

While there is no medical or drug deductible, you could pay about $5,000 per year in out-of-pocket costs — including copays and coinsurance — if you stay in the network. If you get care outside the network, your total yearly cost could be up to $11,300. And your payments to nonnetwork specialists can be expensive. For example, if a specialist or outpatient facility charges $200, you pay a 40% coinsurance, or $80.

Both plans include added dental benefits at no extra cost. Other member extras include a fitness benefit, prescription delivery and an over-the-counter benefit that provides you with select pharmacy items such as cold medications at no cost.

Aetna Medicare plans are available in the following counties:

  • Adams
  • Arapahoe
  • Boulder
  • Broomfield
  • Denver
  • Douglas
  • El Paso
  • Elbert
  • Fremont
  • Jefferson
  • Larimer
  • Mesa
  • Teller
  • Weld

Most widely available Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado

Humana Medicare Advantage plans are the most widely available in Colorado, with policies sold across 51 counties. Humana offers 10 options in Colorado, with rates ranging from $0 to $90 per month.

Humana

  • 4.1 stars
  • Average cost: $30 per month
  • Available in 51 Colorado counties
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With 4.1 stars, Humana ranks fairly well compared to competitors in Colorado. And Humana offers plans to more Colorado residents than any other insurer in the state, including UnitedHealthcare.

A good Humana option is the Humana Gold Plus H0028-025 HMO, which has no premium and is available in 51 Colorado counties. This plan offers cost savings and works well for those who don't mind working within a network and having a primary care provider (PCP) coordinate their health care.

Humana Gold Plus has no medical or drug deductible and a midrange out-of-pocket maximum of $4,500. With the Humana Gold Plus plan, you pay nothing for a primary doctor visit and low or no copays for other outpatient care, like lab services and X-rays. Prescription copays are also affordable — you pay between $2 and $7 for each generic prescription. You also get a fitness benefit, nonemergency transport, free vision and dental exams, and a routine hearing checkup for $30.

Humana is the only Colorado insurer offering a Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan. PFFS plans are similar to PPOs in that they offer provider choice with no preauthorizations or referrals needed. But PFFS plans are more expensive than HMOs and most PPOs. In fact, the higher PFFS premium causes a slight jump in overall average costs for the state.

At $90 per month, the Humana Gold Choice PFFS plan is the company's most expensive option in Colorado. The plan has no medical deductible, but there is a separate drug deductible of $300. The $6,700 out-of-pocket maximum is also higher than the HMO, so you pay more (and wait longer) before your insurance begins paying at 100%. You pay $15 for a PCP visit and $50 when you visit your specialist. The drug benefit is similar to the HMO — after meeting your deductible, you pay between $7 and $14 for generic prescriptions.

Like a PPO, this PFFS plan offers the flexibility to see doctors outside the network, but your costs may be higher. For example, a copay for an in-network lab service may be between $0 and $40, while out-of-network lab care may cost you up to $275.

The PFFS plan offers fewer added benefits compared to the HMO. For example, there is no coverage for wellness programs, nonemergency transportation or eyeglass frames and lenses. With fewer benefits at an overall higher cost, the main advantage of the PFFS plan is the freedom to see your chosen providers without the need for referrals or prior approvals.


How to qualify for Medicare in Colorado

In any state, including Colorado, you can be eligible for Medicare based on your age, a qualifying disability, or kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Age: You qualify for Medicare when you turn 65. If you paid into Social Security while working and were getting Social Security benefits for at least four months before turning 65, you will be enrolled in Medicare Part A automatically. You also will be enrolled in Medicare Part B, but you can choose to decline it since you must pay a monthly fee.

Disability: You can qualify for Medicare due to disability at any age if you meet these three requirements:

  • You cannot work and perform substantial activity due to your medical condition.
  • You can't do work you did before or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

ESRD: To qualify for Medicare due to ESRD, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your kidneys no longer function properly.
  • You need regular dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.
  • You're eligible for or are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits.

If you don't get Medicare automatically and need to apply, you would do so through the Social Security Administration or RRB. Whether you join due to age, disability or ESRD, you have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

How many people are on Medicare in Colorado?

Medicare enrollees in Colorado: 959,827

Number of Medicare Advantage providers operating in Colorado: 9

Average monthly cost of Medicare Advantage in Colorado: $21

Medicare Advantage enrollment by county: (This is a sampling of the Colorado counties where Medicare Advantage is sold)

  • National average: 42%
  • Colorado: 46%
  • San Juan County: below 1%
  • Ouray County: 10%
  • Saguache County: 20%
  • Montrose County: 28%
  • Mesa County: 37%
  • Weld County: 47%
  • Jefferson County: 60%
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Frequently asked questions

Does Colorado have a Medicare Advantage plan?

Yes, Medicare Advantage plans are available throughout Colorado and cost an average of $21 per month. There are $0 plans offered in each county where Medicare Advantage plans are sold.

What are the best Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado?

Kaiser provides one of the best Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado. Kaiser customers report being happy with their plan coverage and service, earning the company a 5-star CMS rating. UnitedHealthcare is also highly rated and offers the largest plan selection in the state, while Humana has a 4.1 CMS rating and offers plans in 51 Colorado counties.

How much does Medicare Advantage cost in Colorado?

Medicare Advantage costs an average of $21 per month in Colorado. Rates range from $0 to $186 per month, and every insurer offers a $0-premium plan.

Methodology and sources

Our analysis of Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado excluded plans that do not provide prescription drug coverage, employer group plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs). Medicare plan data was sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) public use files and from the Medicare.gov plan finder site. We compared 2022 plans based on cost, coverage, quality and availability. When calculating insurer-specific averages, we combined affiliated companies.

ValuePenguin.com is owned and operated by LendingTree, LLC ("LendingTree"). All rights reserved.

Invitations for application for insurance may be made through QW Insurance Solutions, LLC ("QWIS"), a subsidiary of QuoteWizard.com, LLC ("QuoteWizard"), a LendingTree subsidiary, or through its designated agents, only where licensed and appointed. Licensing information for QWIS can be found here. QWIS is a non-government licensed health insurance agency. Not affiliated with or endorsed by any government agency.

Callers to QWIS will be directed to a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Supplement insurance and/or Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP and PFFS organizations. Calls to QWIS will be routed to a licensed agent who can provide you with further information about the insurance plans offered by one or more third-party partners of QWIS. Each of the organizations they represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal.

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.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information contained on this website.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.