Best Cheap Medicare Plans in Texas
Best Cheap Medicare Plans in Texas
Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area
UnitedHealthcare/AARP has the best Medicare Advantage plans for most people in Texas. For those looking for stand-alone prescription drug coverage, the best overall Medicare Part D plan in Texas is from Humana.
In Texas, the average cost of a Medicare Advantage plan is $34 per month, and the average cost of a Medicare Part D plan is $52 per month.
- 4.2 out of 5 stars on Medicare.gov
- Average cost in Texas: $28 per month
- Good benefits across a variety of plans
- 4.2 out of 5 stars on Medicare.gov
- Average cost in Texas: $40 per month
- Low-cost generic prescription drugs
How we chose these Medicare plans
Our data-backed research on Medicare plans in Texas considered Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug benefits and providers operating in at least 10 Texas counties. We compared monthly rates, provider quality and plan benefits. When there was a tie, we looked at a plan's other features such as discounts or extra coverage options.
Medicare Advantage plans in Texas
UnitedHealthcare/AARP has the best overall Medicare Advantage plans in Texas because of its good benefits, strong customer satisfaction, wide availability and affordability.
If you want a top-rated plan, Baylor Scott & White Health Plan and KelseyCare are regional companies that have a 5-star rating and offer Medicare Advantage plans starting at $0 per month. And Cigna offers the best cheap Medicare Advantage plan, providing good benefits at an average cost of $2 per month.
|Amerigroup (part of Anthem)||3.3||$0|
|Molina Healthcare of Texas||3.5||$0|
|Prominence Health Plan||3.5||$0|
|Cigna (best cheap plans)||4.2||$2|
|KelseyCare Advantage (top-rated but limited availability)||5.0||$5|
|Wellcare by Allwell||3.3||$6|
|Christus Health Plan||3.5||$8|
Data shows the average cost of Medicare Advantage plans offered in Texas and the national average star rating for Medicare Advantage plans on Medicare.gov. The star rating for Imperial Insurance is for its parent company, Imperial Health Plan of California, because the subsidiary star rating was unavailable.
In Texas, 28 insurance providers sell Medicare Advantage plans. However, plan availability varies by county. On average, Texans will have about 13 plans to choose from, depending on where they live.
The best Medicare Advantage plan for you will change with your preferences and health care needs.
For example, a PPO plan is a good choice if you want more flexibility about doctors and medical providers, but these plans usually cost a little more. A plan with no deductible is a good choice for those with high medical needs or a limited budget because the plan's benefits begin right away. On the other hand, those with fewer health needs can save by choosing one of the $0 Medicare Advantage plans.
Best overall Medicare Advantage in Texas
UnitedHealthcare (UHC)/AARP is often ranked among the best Medicare Advantage plans because plans provide a middle-of-the-road approach with good coverage at a reasonable cost and better-than-average ratings.
UHC/AARP plans start at $0 per month, and a wide variety of plans are available across Texas. The health benefits provide broad coverage, and all plans provide prescription drug coverage in the gap (also called the donut hole), an important benefit for those who expect to need high-cost medications. Plus, plans include a large collection of add-on benefits like dental care and hearing aid coverage. This adds to the overall value of the plans.
In Texas, UnitedHealthcare plans are sold under three different names. That includes AARP-branded plans that are offered through a marketing agreement with UnitedHealthcare. Other plans have the UnitedHealthcare name. The third segment is Erickson-named plans, which are for residents of Erickson retirement communities.
We recommend the AARP Medicare Advantage (HMO-POS) plan for most people. The plan costs $0 per month, and it has a $0 medical deductible, $0 drug deductible, free primary care visits, good cost-sharing benefits and coverage for dental, hearing and vision. This plan is mostly limited to in-network coverage, but the good benefits and rates make it a great solution for affordable health care.
If you want the provider flexibility that comes with a PPO plan, we recommend the AARP Medicare Advantage Choice (PPO) plan over the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Choice. Even though both of these options have a $0 medical deductible, the AARP option costs less each month, has a lower drug deductible, has a lower out-of-pocket maximum and includes fitness benefits. The UnitedHealthcare-branded plan does have lower copays for some out-of-network care, but the potential savings do not outweigh the benefits of the AARP PPO plan.
Best cheap Medicare Advantage in Texas
Cigna has the best deal on Medicare Advantage plans in Texas. The majority of plans are free, and the company has a good overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. All Cigna plans have good prescription drug benefits with coverage in the gap, a $190 drug deductible and Tier 1 drugs not subject to the deductible.
Unfortunately, Cigna Medicare Advantage plans are only offered in 45 of 254 counties in Texas. If Cigna isn't available in your county, you still have multiple options for cheap coverage because nearly every insurance company selling Medicare Advantage plans in Texas offers a $0 option.
Cigna offers three HMO plans that include prescription benefits: Cigna Preferred, Cigna Preferred Savings and Cigna Alliance. All of these plans cost $0 per month and have a $0 medical deductible. In general, HMO plans are a better deal for the level of benefits you get, but HMO plans will come with more restrictions such as only covering in-network care.
We don't recommend the Cigna Preferred Savings plan because of its high out-of-pocket maximum of $6,700, compared to the $3,400 maximum for the other two HMO plans. The Cigna Preferred and Cigna Alliance plans have similar medical benefits, and you can decide which is a better fit for you by comparing the in-network medical providers or the plans' drug formularies.
Cigna also offers two PPO plans: Cigna True Choice and Cigna True Choice Plus. As with all PPO plans, these options will have more flexibility about providers, allowing for some coverage for out-of-network providers.
These two plans both have no deductible, but they have a higher out-of-pocket maximum than the top HMO plans. This makes it a clear trade-off. Although PPO plans offer more flexibility, those who have more expensive medical needs could spend more for health care with a PPO — up to $6,700 for in-network care and a total cap of $10,000 for in-network and out-of-network care.
Best-rated Medicare Advantage in Texas
- Plans starting at $0 per month
- Star rating: 5.0 out of 5
Baylor Scott & White Health Plan offers 5-star Medicare Advantage plans in 39 Texas counties. Although expensive options are available, you can also get affordable 5-star coverage that costs $0 or $37 per month.
More specifically, Baylor Scott & White (BSW) plans are available in central-east Texas in the area between Dallas and Austin. For those living in the region between Houston and Austin, consider a 5-star Medicare Advantage plan from KelseyCare Advantage. KelseyCare is only available in 13 counties, but those who have access can get top-rated coverage for an average of $5 per month.
Keep in mind that BSW is a smaller insurer, and plans may not have as wide of a provider network as options from some of the larger insurance companies.
The best 5-star plan in Texas is the BSW SeniorCare Advantage Select Rx (HMO). Despite the high average cost of other Baylor Scott & White plans, this option costs $0 per month. The plan also has no deductible for medical care, which helps to keep your out-of-pocket spending low.
Plan benefits include free preventive care, dental, hearing, vision, a fitness program, opioid treatment, home health care and more. The copayments for medical care are middle-of-the-road: $50 for urgent care, $90 for a trip to the emergency room and free outpatient X-rays or lab tests. However, the out-of-pocket maximum of $6,300 is high, and those who need significant medical care may get a better deal by spending more each month for a policy with better benefits.
How to apply for Medicare in Texas
Whether you're applying for Medicare for the first time or you're updating your coverage during the annual open enrollment period, there are important factors to get the best coverage for your needs at the best rate. Keep in mind these five steps when applying for Medicare in Texas:
- Eligibility and initial enrollment: You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 or through a qualifying disability or medical condition such as ALS or end-stage renal disease. Initial enrollment in Medicare starts by applying for benefits through the Social Security Administration, after which you'll receive your Medicare card.
- Choosing your plans: Each year, you can review the plans offered in your area through Medicare.gov. This can help you compare coverage options and choose plans for Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D).
- Compare costs: In Texas, it costs an average of $34 per month for a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug benefits. However, available options can cost anywhere from $0 to $255 per month. You can find the best deal for you by comparing the total annual cost of the policy to your expected health care needs.
- Discounts and savings: Those in Texas who meet certain income requirements can qualify for lower rates on the different parts of Medicare through programs such as Extra Help.
- Local resources: Personalized assistance is available through the Texas Health & Human Services Commission, which provides benefits counselors to help you navigate coverage choices and plan selection.
Medicare Part D plans in Texas
Humana has the best overall Medicare Part D plans in Texas because of its strong rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars and reasonable average cost of $40 per month. However, the trade-off with Humana is that you'll pay more than if you chose a similar amount of coverage from a worse-ranked company.
For cheap prescription drug coverage, we recommend Aetna Medicare Part D, which has a lower average cost of $33 per month, but it also has a lower star rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars. Aetna is a great deal for those who are looking for affordable coverage because plans start at just $7 per month. Plus, Aetna also has the best deal on a no-deductible plan. This plan is a great choice for those who expect to have significant or expensive prescription drug needs.
A Medicare Part D plan is a stand-alone prescription drug plan for those who get their benefits through Original Medicare, rather than Medicare Advantage.
|Clear Spring Health||2.4||$28|
|Aetna (best cheap plans)||3.8||$33|
|Humana (best overall)||4.2||$40|
|Elixir Insurance/Rite Aid||3.0||$49|
|Mutual of Omaha Rx||3.5||$62|
|Blue Cross and Blue Shield of IL, NM, OK, TX||4.0||$102|
Data shows the average cost for a Medicare Part D plan in Texas and the company's average nationwide star rating for Medicare Part D plans on Medicare.gov.
Best overall Medicare Part D in Texas
Humana Walmart Value Rx plan
- Monthly cost: $22
- Star rating: 4.2 out of 5
- Top-rated customer satisfaction for mail order prescriptions
Humana Medicare Part D plans are a great choice for Texans who are willing to spend a little more per month for a plan with higher overall customer satisfaction. In general, Humana will be a better deal than UnitedHealthcare, which is similarly rated but more expensive.
Plus, Humana stands out for its customer service, and for the past four years, Humana Pharmacy has topped J.D. Power's study on customer satisfaction for mail order prescriptions.
Among prescription drug plans offered by Humana, the Humana Walmart Value Rx plan stands out for its coverage, in particular for its low prices on generic prescriptions. With the plan, generic drugs cost $1-$4, and the deductible does not apply to Tier 1 or 2 drugs. This means you can get low-priced generic medications without having to first pay for prescriptions out of pocket to meet the deductible.
When we compare this Walmart-branded plan to the similarly priced Humana Basic Rx plan, only the Walmart-branded one offers the benefit of having no deductible for Tier 1 and 2 prescriptions, making it a much better deal.
For those who take higher-tier medications, Humana Walmart Value Rx has a $480 deductible, so you'll pay more for these prescriptions at the beginning of the policy. But Humana offers opportunities for savings such as using the plan's preferred pharmacies including Walmart, Sam's Club and Costco as well as Texas grocery chains like Kroger and H-E-B.
Best cheap Medicare Part D in Texas
- Monthly cost: $7
- Tier 1 drugs are not subject to a deductible
- Star rating: 3.8 out of 5
Aetna's Medicare Part D plans have a combination of moderate star ratings and low costs, making them a good deal for those who want cheap coverage. When compared to Clear Spring Health, another cheap Medicare Part D provider in Texas, Aetna has much higher star ratings while still having a low average cost of $5 more per month.
Aetna SilverScript SmartRx is the cheapest Part D plan in the state, costing only $7 per month. But this is not bare-bones coverage. Tier 1 drugs are not subject to the deductible, and you'll pay only $1 for each Tier 1 prescription you fill.
Aetna SilverScript SmartRx has a deductible of $480, but for those with low to moderate drug needs, this plan is still a good deal because of its low monthly costs.
However, this Aetna plan has a lower rating than our Humana recommendation, which could mean you'll have more frustrations when using the policy. The Aetna plan also only has a $0 deductible for Tier 1 drugs rather than both Tier 1 and 2 with Humana. Depending on the medications you take, this could mean you will have higher out-of-pocket prescription drug costs until you reach the deductible.
Remember that Aetna is a subsidiary of CVS Health, which makes it easy to access in-network pricing on medications for those who live in large cities like Houston or Dallas as well as those living in the rural parts of the state.
Best Medicare Part D in Texas for those with high medication needs
We already mentioned Aetna/SilverScript for its cheap coverage, but the company also offers the best deal for those who expect to have large prescription drug expenses in the upcoming year.
Aetna SilverScript Plus is the cheapest no-deductible Part D plan offered in Texas. The plan costs $68 per month, while options from other companies can be as expensive as $155 per month.
Aetna SilverScript Plus has a $0 deductible across all medication tiers, which means that the full benefits of the prescription drug plan begin immediately without first requiring a certain amount of out-of-pocket spending. Plus, enrollees get Tier 1 and 2 drugs for $0 to $2 per prescription.
The plan also includes coverage in the gap (also called the donut hole). This is a benefit that's not included with Wellcare's similarly priced no-deductible plan, making the Aetna option clearly the better choice for those with high medication needs. Without gap coverage, those with total spending (both policyholder and plan spending) that surpasses $4,430 could see an increase in the amount they pay for prescription drugs.
The downside of this plan is its cost. The plan is among the more expensive Part D plans offered in Texas. The high monthly rate is warranted if you expect to have high prescription drug needs. But for those with low or moderate prescription drug needs, this plan could be more insurance than you need.
Texas Medicare enrollment statistics
Medicare enrollees in Texas: 4.3 million
Number of Medicare providers operating in Texas: 28
Average monthly cost in Texas:
- Medicare Advantage: $34
- Medicare Part D: $52
Medicare Advantage enrollment (enrollment as a percentage of all Medicare beneficiaries)
- National average: 42%
- Texas state: 45%
- El Paso County: 63%
- Harris County: 53%
- Tarrant County: 50%
- Dallas County: 45%
- Travis County: 38%
- Collin County: 37%
Frequently asked questions
Is Medicare free in Texas?
Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is free for about 99% of Texans because of the Medicare taxes paid during working years. In addition, free Medicare Advantage plans are available, which provide bundled coverage that often includes dental, vision and prescription drug benefits. However, all Medicare enrollees must pay for Medicare Part B (medical insurance), with the standard rate of $164.90 per month.
What's the best Medicare Advantage plan in Texas?
UnitedHealthcare/AARP offers the best overall Medicare Advantage in Texas. These middle-of-the-road plans provide a good value at an average cost of $28 per month. We also recommend Cigna for the best deal on cheap coverage, and if you want a top-rated plan, consider KelseyCare Advantage and Baylor Scott &
What percentage of Medicare enrollees in Texas have Medicare Advantage?
About 45% of Texans enrolled in Medicare have chosen a Medicare Advantage plan for bundled coverage. The remaining 55% have Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
How much is Medicare Advantage in Texas?
Medicare Advantage plans in Texas cost $34 per month on average for a plan that includes medical care and prescription drug benefits. However, $0 plans are available in every county and from nearly every provider.
What is the best way to compare Texas Medicare Advantage plans?
The three most important factors when comparing Medicare plans are the star rating to tell you about the quality of the insurer, the cost of the plan to determine its affordability and the benefits of the plan, which will tell you how much you will spend for health care.
Methodology and sources
This analysis of Texas Medicare plans is based on 2022 public use files from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as insurer details and third-party data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and J.D. Power.
We only considered the Medicare Advantage providers that offer plans in at least 10 counties in Texas. This excluded insurers like Oscar and Clover Health, which have limited availability in the state. Our analysis also excluded plans that do not include prescription drug coverage, employer group plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs). Our comparison of Medicare Part D plans excluded employer and group plans that are not offered through Medicare.gov.
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