When you first enroll in Medicare, one of the big decisions you face is whether to stick with Original Medicare or join a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are offered by private insurance companies and provide an alternative way to get your Medicare benefits. If you decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, your next step is choosing between the many medicare advantage plan options available. Determining the best Medicare Advantage plans of 2023 can give you an idea of where to start your search.
What makes certain types of Medicare Advantage plans stand out from the rest? Here are some key features that can contribute to a plan’s popularity:
The Medicare Advantage plans in 2023 that perform the best across these key areas tend to attract the most members year after year.
For 2023, these Medicare Advantage plans stand out as offering the overall best combination of value, benefits, network, ratings, and affordability:
With over 7 million enrollees, UnitedHealthcare has the most Medicare Advantage members of any private insurer according to centers for Medicare. They have plans in all 50 states and offer a variety including HMO plan offer, PPO plan, and Special Needs Plans. Many of their plans may have $0 premiums, extra benefits like dental, fitness and meal allowances, and Part D drug coverage.
Humana is the second largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans with over 5 million enrollees. They have a reputation for high customer satisfaction and innovative benefits. Popular offerings include $0 premium plans, options with dental and vision coverage, and Special Needs Plans for specific conditions.
BCBS companies offer Medicare Advantage plans in many states. Features like $0 premiums, dental and vision coverage, Part D included, large pharmacy networks, and extensive telehealth services make these health plans highly rated. BCBS MAPD plans also come with the brand recognition of an established insurance carrier.
For states where it’s available, Kaiser Permanente is one of the most popular Medicare Advantage insurers with around 1.6 million enrollees. Their plans are known for affordable premiums, plans provide integrated care between providers and coverage, and rich extra benefits. Many members appreciate Kaiser’s comprehensive model.
With competitively priced plans and a reputation for member satisfaction, Aetna Medicare Advantage serves 1 million members. They offer plans like $0 premiums, dental coverage, fitness programs, and Part D included. Aetna’s MAPD plans are available in a majority of states.
This list highlights some of the specific companies that offer popular Medicare Advantage plans, but it’s not exhaustive. The key is to look for the combination of affordability, benefits, breadth of network, star ratings, and member satisfaction offered when comparing plans available in your area.
One important factor that contributes to Medicare Advantage enrollment numbers is the availability of Special Needs Plans (SNPs). These types of plans can make Medicare Advantage more attractive for populations with specific conditions.
A few things to know about SNPs:
Because Original Medicare can be less coordinated and consistent for people with complex medical needs, Special Needs Plans enhance access and alignment of care. The availability of plans tailored for their health conditions makes Medicare Advantage more compelling for these groups.
In fact, over 40% of all dual-eligible beneficiaries (those with both Medicare and Medicaid) choose Special Needs Plans. The integrated benefits, low costs, care coordination, and focus on their unique needs drive enrollment for this population.
The popularity of Special Needs Plans contributes significantly to total Medicare Advantage membership and market penetration. In 2023, look for continued growth in access and enrollment across different types of Special Needs Plans.
According to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, 29.5 million people are expected to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans for 2023. This represents a 9% increase over 2022 enrollment numbers.
Medicare Advantage continues to grow at a rapid rate. Enrollment has climbed steadily since the early 2000s:
For context, Original Medicare enrollment is holding relatively flat. The increasing shift can be attributed to factors like:
This growth trajectory is expected to continue over the next decade. According to the Congressional Budget Office, over half of all Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans by 2025.
The popularity of Medicare Advantage will likely reshape the healthcare coverage landscape for retirees in coming years. This makes understanding how these plans work, key differences from Original Medicare, costs and benefits all the more important for soon-to-be and new Medicare enrollees.
The most popular Medicare Advantage plans attract lots of enrollees, but are they the right option for you? Here are some pros and cons to consider with the top plans:
The most popular plans appeal to many Medicare enrollees. But always weigh the advantages against potential limitations to ensure a plan meets your individual healthcare needs.
Rather than automatically choosing one of the most popular Medicare health Advantage plans, make sure you evaluate all your options. Here are some tips to find the right Medicare Advantage plan for your situation:
Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan takes research. But taking the time to analyze every plans using these criteria can help uncover options with the affordability, coverage, and flexibility you want.
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A Medicare Advantage plan is an alternative to original Medicare offered by private insurance companies approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare Advantage plans (also called Medicare Part C) provide all your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits and often extra benefits like vision, dental and health and wellness programs.
You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. The best time is during the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31 each year. You can also enroll during the general enrollment period from October 15 to December 7.
There are several Medicare Advantage plan types available including Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs). They each have different network and referral requirements.
Consider your healthcare needs, budget, medications, doctors and any other benefits important to you. Compare costs, coverage details and quality star ratings of plans in your area on the CMS website. Speaking to providers can help you pick the plan that best fits your situation.
Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage (Part D). However, plans differ in their drug formularies, pharmacy networks and costs. Review details on which specific drugs are covered for your medications. Not all plans may cover certain drugs.
Original Medicare has no networks but comes with gaps in coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs compared to Medicare Advantage plans which often have $0 premiums and additional benefits. No two options are exactly alike so compare features that matter most to you.
Most Medicare Advantage plan premiums are fully covered by your monthly Medicare Part B premium, but not all. Some may charge an additional premium amount that varies by plan and area. Check costs for any plan you are considering carefully. Premiums and copays may change annually
Popular providers of Medicare Advantage plans include UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and many more that operate regionally. Carefully review their plan options to find the best coverage according to your needs and budget.
CMS projects over 4,500 Medicare Advantage plans, including special needs plans, will be available to 43 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide in 2023. This wide range provides more choice but also increases complexity in comparing options.
As a large trusted member organization, AARP endorses certain co-branded Medicare Advantage plans through UnitedHealthcare and other providers that emphasize $0 premiums and extra benefits for minimal costs. Some beneficiaries appreciate the AARP name recognition and support.
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31 each year, beneficiaries can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or dis-enroll and return to original Medicare for coverage effective the following January 1.