844-259-6504

We researched all major Medicare insurance companies and their 2020 Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan offerings, ultimately selecting the 6 best Medicare Advantage plans.

15 Insurers Considered 6 Insurers Selected
119 Hours Researched 742 Consumers Surveyed
Best Overall

Kaiser

  • 94.2% customer retention rate1
  • Highest CMS star ratings in states served
  • $0 deductible with every plan
  • $0 monthly premium option in many plans
  • Only serves 9 states

For the past 5 years, Kaiser has been ranked as the best overall Medicare Advantage plan in J.D. Power's annual survey2. Kaiser offers numerous extra perks, such as wellness coaching, transportation to medical appointments (based on plan), gym access and support groups. Kaiser wins our No. 1 spot for its top-notch customer service, extensive benefits, and user-friendly online tools.

Best Value

AARP UnitedHealthcare

  • 90% of customers had no premium increase in 20193
  • National plan availability
  • Above average satisfaction rating2
  • 3 types of Special Needs Plans (SNPs) offered
  • Limited online resources

With 26% of all Medicare Advantage enrollees receiving their coverage through UnitedHealthcare4, it's the largest Part C provider in the country. Because of its size, UnitedHealthcare is able to offer both rate stability and a broad range of plans for every budget and lifestyle.

Best for Extra Benefits

Humana

  • Numerous health and wellness benefits
  • Mail delivery for prescription drugs with some plans
  • Resources for managing chronic diseases
  • Ranked #1 for customer service (Newsweek5)
  • Humana Honor plan designed specifically for military veterans
  • Limited pharmacy options

Humana's commitment to providing enrollees with extra perks, earns them a spot in our top 3 picks. Along with extra benefits, Humana offers online tools for managing coverage, claims, and records.

Best for Travelers

Aetna

  • 72% of customers have a $0 monthly premium6
  • "Explorer" benefit allows you to receive in-network benefits from any Aetna facility
  • Plan availability varies significantly by location
  • Slightly below average satisfaction rating2

We believe Aetna is a great option for individuals who travel often. With multiple plan offerings and their "explorer" benefit, Aetna affords flexibility for anyone on the go.

Best for Network Coverage

Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • 96% of hospitals and 95% of healthcare providers work with BCBS7
  • Multiple plans available in many locations
  • Special Needs Plans (SNPs) offered in many areas
  • Slightly below average satisfaction rating2

BCBS is a federation of 36 different health insurance companies, including Anthem, CareFirst, Horizon, Premera, Wellmark and others. Collectively, the BCBS companies are the 3rd largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

Best for a Budget

Cigna

  • 89% of plans have a $0 monthly premium8
  • Most plans include prescription drug coverage
  • Most plans are HMOs (must stay in-network)
  • Above average annual rate customers switching plans9

Cigna earns a spot in our list because of how budget-friendly many of their plan options are. Despite having a large number of low and $0 monthly premium plans, many Cigna plans still offer competitive benefits and even prescription drug coverage.

Is Medicare Advantage Right For You? What You Should Know About Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Original Medicare

Before you make the decision to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, it's important to understand the key differences between Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Supplement.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B. Part A covers inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing care facility expenses and hospice care. Part B, which covers some doctors' services, medical supplies, preventative care and outpatient care. One thing to know about Original Medicare is that it does not pay for prescription drugs.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, replaces Original Medicare if you enroll in coverage. Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and are required to cover everything you would have with Original Medicare. Advantage plans offer additional coverage like hearing services, prescription drug coverage, dental services, and vision care.

Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement, also known as Medigap, are supplement insurance plans that fill the "gaps" in Original Medicare and are sold by private health insurance companies. These plans, unlike Medicare Advantage, are used in combination with your Original Medicare coverage. Many Medicare Supplement plans do not cover benefits like vision, dental, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drugs, you would have to enroll in a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

How to Choose Between a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Plan

A Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan can help minimize some of these costs associated with Original Medicare. To figure out if a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan is right for you, the questions to ask yourself should include:

  • Do I already have supplemental coverage, like dental, vision, and hearing, or do I want that to be included in my Medicare plan?

  • Do I need to include prescription drugs with my plan? What kind prescription drug coverage am I looking for?
  • Will I split my time between two or more homes in different states?

  • Do I want to be able to choose any doctor in the country for medical care?

Though these are viable alternative options, you legally cannot enroll in a Medicare Advantage and Medical Supplement plan at the same time.

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

There are several types of Medicare Advantage plans. The four most common types of Medicare Advantage plans are:

  1. HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) — These plans provide medical coverage and health care from a specific set of doctors, specialists, and hospitals that are within a plan's approved network.
  2. PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) — You have the option of choosing a doctor, specialist, and hospital outside of the network if desired. You can receive care without a referral from a primary care physician.
  3. PFFS (Private Fee For Service) — These plans allow you to access any Medicare-approved doctor, specialist, or hospital as long as it accepts your plan and agrees to treat you.
  4. SNPs (Special Needs Plans) — SNPs offer the same Medicare services that all Medicare Advantage Plans provide. They also offer additional benefits for those with chronic conditions, such as cancer and heart failure. Care is provided in-network unless there are special circumstances like receiving out-of-area dialysis. In this scenario, you will be provided a primary care doctor or a care coordinator.

4 Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2020 average an out-of-pocket limit of $4,925 for in-network services with HMOs and PPOs. With HMO plans that do not cover out-of-network providers, the average out-of-pocket limit is $4,486. The average amount with PPOs increases to $8,828 for out-of-network services. PPO enrollees who are local and regional average an out-of-pocket limit of $8,795 for in-network services and $9,010 for out-of-network services.

How to Choose the Best Medicare Advantage Plan For You

When you start thinking about which Medicare Advantage plan you want to enroll in, you should consider important questions like:

  • Review the Medicare Advantage plans available in your area. Plan offerings and pricing can vary greatly from one zip code to another, let alone one state to another, so make sure plans you are interested in are an option for you.
  • Check to see if your plan is a HMO, a PPO, a PFFS, or a SNP.
  • Check to see if your primary care doctor is in-network because you will save money on co-pays if you take this comparison step.
  • Review the benefits each plan offers. You may be drawn to the plan with the most extra benefits, but consider which of them you are most likely to use.

  • Compare copays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum costs and limits when comparing plans.

When comparing the core coverage, you'll want to look at these areas:

  • Monthly premium

  • Annual deductible for medical services

  • Annual deductible for drug coverage

When you are looking at your Medicare Advantage options, you should look at the premium. Many Medicare Advantage plans don't have a premium at all. Any premium should be an affordable amount. Also, many plans don't have a deductible. Why pay more for coverage if you don't have to? Having coverage from day one, rather than having to meet a deductible first, can be a plus.

Our Methodology — How We Chose the Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Companies

Researching and selecting a Medicare Advantage plan can seem overwhelming if you don't have the right information at your disposal. It's important to know all the facts because this decision can have a big health and financial impact as you move forward with your decision.

In fact, KKF estimates that in 2020 the average Medicare beneficiary is able to choose from 28 different Medicare Advantage plans offered by 7 different companies. That's a lot of options!

With this in mind, we took the responsibility of performing this research for you. To create our list of the best Medicare Advantage companies, we enlisted a team of Medicare experts to answer the following questions:

  1. Which companies have the best extra benefits?

    • There are a lot of Medicare Advantage plans and companies you can choose from. One of the key factors you should consider when making that choice is which ones offer the more comprehensive benefits for you? These can include things like prescription drug coverage, gym memberships, and grocery delivery service.

    • Here's a breakdown of the types of benefits that most Medicare Advantage enrollees will be able to choose from based on plan availability10:

      • Dental (97%)

      • Fitness (97%)

      • Vision (97%)

      • Hearing (97%)

      • Meals (96%)

      • Transportation assistance (92%)

      • In-home support (54%)

      • Bathroom safety (49%)

      • Telemonitoring services (29%)

      • Support for caregivers (12%)

  1. Which companies have the broadest coverage area (or plan availability)?

    • We want to make sure that if we recommended a company, there's a high probability that they offer plan coverage where you live.

  1. Which companies have the best rates and rate stability?

    • For most Medicare-eligible individuals, healthcare costs represents the second largest category of expenses. Because Medicare Advantage premiums will vary based on factors like which plan you choose, where you live, your age, and when you enroll, we shopped hundreds of plans across the country to ensure we only recommend companies who will provide you with the best value.

    • In addition, we researched each company's financial rating and loss ratio. The loss ratio of a company can have a direct impact on your policy rates and rate increases.

  1. Which companies have the best customer service?

    • It's inevitable that you'll need to contact your insurer's customer support at some point. We only recommend companies that make it easy for you to get help and that go above and beyond to ensure you are satisfied.

  1. Which companies have the easiest quote process?

    • Getting and comparing rates should be easy and be fast. We only recommend companies that make this process simple and transparent.

Our team spent 119 hours finding answers to these five questions. To offer you the most comprehensive and reliable recommendations, we:

  • went through the enrollment process for hundreds of plans offered by 15 different insurance companies,
  • interviewed Medicare beneficiaries,
  • surveyed hundreds Medicare-eligible individuals across the country,
  • spoke with licensed Medicare insurance agents,
  • read 442 verified customer reviews,
  • checked each company's Better Business Bureau ratings,
  • verified each company's financial health using A.M. Best and The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and
  • validated our findings against major third-party reports from organizations including Newsweek, Consumer Affairs, and Medicare.gov.

Company

States Covered

Plans Offered

Best For

Prescription Drug

(MA-PD) Coverage Available?

Other Possible Plan Benefits*

Kaiser

9

HMO

Best Overall

Yes

Dental,

Fitness

Hearing,

Transportation,

Vision

AARP UnitedHealthcare

24

EPO,

HMO,

PFFS/POS

PPO

Value

Yes

Dental,

Fitness,

Hearing,

Nurse Hotline,

Vision

Humana

47

HMO,

MSA,

PFFS,

PPO,

SNP

Extra Benefits

Yes

Dental,

Fitness,

Hearing,

SilverSneakers,

Transportation,

Vision

Aetna

44

EPO,

HDHP,

HMO,

POS,

PPO

Travelers

Yes

Dental,

Fitness,

Hearing,

Meal Delivery**,

Nurse Hotline,

SilverSneakers,

Vision

Blue Cross Blue Shield

41

HMO,

HMO-POS,

MSA,

PFFS,

PPO,

NSP

Network Coverage

Yes

Dental,

Fitness,

Hearing,

SilverSneakers,

Vision

Cigna

26

HMO,

PFFS,

PPO

A Budget

Yes

Dental,

Fitness,

Hearing,

Nurse Hotline,

Vision

* Benefits listed are common among an insurance company's Medicare Advantage plans, but not standard

** 73% of Aetna's Medicare Advantage plans offer meal delivery after a hospital stay

Extra Benefits

Coverage and Plan Availability

Rates

Customer Service

Quote Process

OVERALL

Kaiser

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★

[4.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[4.80]

AARP UnitedHealthcare

★★★★

[4.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★

[4.00]

★★★★★

[4.70]

Humana

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★

[4.00]

★★★★★

[4.75]

★★★★★

[4.50]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[4.65]

Aetna

★★★★

[3.75]

★★★

[3.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★

[4.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[4.15]

Blue Cross Blue Shield

★★★★

[3.75]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★★

[4.75]

★★★★

[3.50]

★★★

[3.00]

★★★★

[4.00]

Cigna

★★★★

[3.50]

★★★

[3.00]

★★★★★

[5.00]

★★★★

[3.50]

★★★★★

[4.50]

★★★★

[3.70]

Sources:

  1. https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20170803/NEWS/170809954/behind-kaiser-s-1-billion-quarterly-operating-gain-and-how-it-might-repeat-it

  2. https://www.jdpower.com/sites/default/files/file/2020-06/2020068%20U.S.%20Medicare%20Advantage%20Study.pdf

  3. https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/2018/2018-10-1-unitedhealthcare-medicare-plan-value.html

  4. https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/a-dozen-facts-about-medicare-advantage-in-2020/

  5. https://www.newsweek.com/americas-best-customer-service-2020/services-insurance#health-insurance

  6. https://cvshealth.com/news-and-insights/press-releases/aetna-announces-biggest-medicare-advantage-expansion-in-its

  7. https://www.bcbs.com/about-us/the-blue-cross-blue-shield-system

  8. https://eligibility.com/medicare/advantage-plans/cigna-healthspring-medicare-advantage-review

  9. https://www.kff.org/report-section/medicare-advantage-plan-switching-exception-or-norm-issue-brief/

  10. https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2020-spotlight-first-look/