The Best Medicare Advantage Providers of 2022
According to MoneyGeek’s scoring system, the top-rated Medicare Advantage plans are Blue Cross Blue Shield for preferred provider organizations and UnitedHealthcare for health maintenance organizations.
The best Medicare Advantage plan for you will depend on the costs, coverage and extras available in your area and how your options stack up to your specific needs, preferences and budget.
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by Medicare-approved companies and generally bundle hospital (Part A) and medical (Part B) benefits, often with prescription (Part D) coverage included. Some of these plans cover things original Medicare doesn’t, like eye exams or fitness programs.
To help you compare 2022 Medicare Advantage plans, MoneyGeek identified the best insurance providers based on their quality ratings from Medicare among those widely available in the U.S. And because not every plan is available everywhere, and some plans only operate in one or a few states, MoneyGeek also rated the best plans in each state.
Most Medicare members have a wealth of options for Medicare Advantage plans in 2022. The majority of people enroll in a PPO or HMO plan, but other plan types may work for you if you have special medical needs, for example.
MoneyGeek’s top pick overall for Medicare Advantage PPO plans is Blue Cross Blue Shield. For HMOs, UnitedHealthcare took the top spot. The best plan for you will depend on the options available in your area and how they meet your specific needs and preferences.
When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, consider total costs — not just premiums but out-of-pocket maximums as well — along with the benefits and services that matter most to you. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, but some do not.
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The Best Overall Medicare Advantage Provider
MoneyGeek’s top pick for the best overall Medicare Advantage option is Blue Cross Blue Shield's preferred provider organization plans.
To identify the best Medicare Advantage plan, MoneyGeek looked at insurance companies that offer benefits in at least 25 states, provide robust coverage options and earn high-quality ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees Medicare.
PPOs offer more flexibility than health maintenance organizations, with more extensive networks and more freedom to see specialists without a primary care provider’s referral. Although PPOs tend to have higher costs than HMO plans, MoneyGeek put them in the top spot because of their access to a wide selection of services.
As with any important financial decision, the best Medicare Advantage plan for you will depend on your needs, preferences and your locally-available options.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield isn’t one company but an association of 35 independent insurance companies. BCBS companies serve 110 million members in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
In CMS’ Medicare Advantage Star Ratings, BCBS plans earn an average of 4.3 out of 5.0. Each BCBS plan offers its own set of rates and benefits.
Overall, nearly 53% of BCBS Medicare Advantage plans have $0 monthly premiums. Nearly all of their plans offer benefits not covered by traditional Medicare. For example, all BCBS Medicare Advantage plans provide hearing benefits, 98% offer vision benefits and 97% have dental coverage.
The Best Medicare Advantage Provider by State
Not all insurers offer Medicare Advantage plans in every state, and some operate in just one state. The best option where you live may not be one of the large national health insurance carriers. Local plans can be high-quality and reasonably priced.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana and United Healthcare earn the highest rankings among the national carriers in many states. Overall, Aetna Medicare ranks the best in the most (23) states.
That said, there is no single “best plan.” Your needs and preferences will determine the best choice for you. Consider how much you can afford and what extra services and benefits matter most.
Click on your state to learn more about your options and find the best plan to fit your needs.
The Best Medicare Advantage Provider in Each State
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- StateBest PlanOrganization
- Aetna Medicare Freedom Plan (PPO)Aetna Medicare
- Aetna Medicare Freedom Plan (PPO)Aetna Medicare
- HumanaChoice H5216-231 (PPO)Humana
- Aetna Medicare Choice Plan (PPO)Aetna Medicare
- Aetna Medicare Prime 1 (PPO)Aetna Medicare
- Aetna Medicare Essential Elite Plan (PPO)Aetna Medicare
- Aetna Medicare Value (PPO)Aetna Medicare
- Aetna Medicare Premier Plus (PPO)Aetna Medicare
The Best Medicare Advantage Provider for HMO Plans
Among Medicare Advantage HMOs available in at least 25 states, MoneyGeek’s pick for the best carrier overall is UnitedHealthcare based on Medicare Star Ratings and the availability of robust extra benefits.
The best HMO for you depends on where you live, what options are available, and what you care most about. Your budget, as well as your preferences and priorities, may point you to a different option.
If you’re not sure if an HMO is right for you, consider the pros and cons. HMOs tend to be less expensive but more restrictive.
If you need to see a specialist, you’ll likely need to get a referral from your primary care doctor. You’ll also probably have to get care from a set network of providers; seeing a provider outside that network may be difficult and more expensive.
UnitedHealthcare HMO plans earned an average of 4.5 stars out of 5.0 in Medicare’s Star Ratings. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of UHC’s HMOs have no monthly premiums. All offer vision and hearing benefits and 95% offer dental coverage.
UHC is the nation’s largest health insurer, with nearly 49.5 million members, including more than six million Medicare Advantage members. UHC has an exclusive relationship with AARP as the only Medicare Advantage carrier AARP promotes.
The Best Medicare Advantage Provider for Plans Without Drug Coverage
Prescription drug coverage is optional for Medicare members and is not included in Original Medicare. Though many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, you can choose a Medicare Advantage plan without drug benefits.
The upside of a Medicare Advantage plan without drug coverage is that you can save money if you don’t need any prescription medications. But if you develop a need for a prescription down the road, you could wind up paying a lot more for that medicine because you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.
If you don’t sign up for drug coverage in your initial enrollment period with Medicare, you’ll pay a penalty if you eventually sign up for it later. The size of the penalty depends on how long you went without drug coverage.
If you decide to sign up for a separate prescription drug plan, keep in mind that you cannot get stand-alone drug coverage and stay on Medicare Advantage.
MoneyGeek analyzed Medicare Advantage plans without prescription drug coverage and ranked UnitedHealthcare as number one in this category.
UnitedHealthcare (UHC) averages 4.3 stars out of 5.0 in Medicare Star Ratings for its plans without drug coverage. Most (72%) of UHC plans without prescriptions have $0 premiums, and all or virtually all offer vision, hearing and dental benefits.
Medicare Advantage plans without prescription drug coverage are best for people who have solid coverage through another source, such as an employer or union, TRICARE through the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Indian Health Services.
Although Medicare beneficiaries can also get drug coverage through a Medigap supplemental insurance plan, those plans are incompatible with Medicare Advantage plans: you can’t have both Medigap and Medicare Advantage.
Best Medicare Advantage Provider for Low Out-of-Pocket Cost Plans
Medicare Advantage plans can be relatively low-cost, many with zero premiums. But the trade-off can come in the form of higher out-of-pocket costs. When evaluating the price of a plan, consider all the costs, not just the [premiums]((https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/health/average-cost-of-health-insurance).
Pay special attention to the maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) cost, which sets the cap on how much you’ll have to pay for covered services in a given year. To find the best plan with lower MOOPs, MoneyGeek looked at highly rated national carriers offering Medicare Advantage plans in at least 25 states and MOOPs in the bottom 75th percentile.
Based on those criteria, MoneyGeek identified Aetna Medicare as the best option.
Aetna Medicare earns an average of 4.3 stars out of 5.0 in Medicare Star Ratings. More than two-thirds (68%) of Aetna’s low MOOP plans have no monthly premium. Virtually all (99%) cover dental and vision care, and 100% offer hearing benefits.
Copayments, coinsurance and any other costs you pay before you satisfy your deductible all count toward the MOOP. But monthly premiums, drug costs and the cost of services provided by providers who don’t participate with your health plan do not.
A low MOOP plan protects you from out-of-pocket costs, which can be high even with a $0 premium plan. Low premiums are often offset with higher deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. A lower MOOP will set the ceiling on your out-of-pocket costs.
What to Know About the Best Medicare Advantage Plans
It can be hard to determine which Medicare Advantage plan is right for you. Though there are standard quality ratings, the best plan for you will depend on your specific needs.
To sift through the options, you might ask questions like: Are your drugs covered and at what cost? Do you need access to extra services to manage a specific condition? Would you rather pay more each month for lower costs later or take your chances on a higher-deductible, lower-premium plan?
These are the kinds of questions only you can answer for yourself — and that will determine which plans may be better for you than others.
MoneyGeek analyzed national statistics to help you figure out the standard features of the best overall Medicare Advantage plans.
Most Medicare Advantage plans are PPO and HMO.
Most Medicare Advantage plans are either PPO or HMO, representing 46% and 39% of available plans.
There are other types of plans available.
Private fee-for-service plans pay providers for each service they provide rather than for each person they take care of. These plans don’t always have a set network of providers to choose from, which means members can see virtually any provider that participates with Medicare. Only 2% of Medicare Advantage plans are PFFS.
Medicare Medical Savings Account plans are another type of Medicare Advantage plan that pairs high-deductible insurance coverage for Medicare Advantage benefits with a medical savings account you can use to pay your Medicare-related expenses before you meet the deductible. Overall, 10% of Medicare Advantage plans are MSAs.
Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of Medicare Advantage plans offer drug coverage. The convenience of integrating prescription coverage (Medicare Part D benefits) with the benefits of Original Medicare is one of the reasons people choose Medicare Advantage plans.
Some people may want a plan without drug coverage, such as those who can get prescription coverage elsewhere. If you don’t take any medications, you may not want to pay for prescription benefits, but think carefully before skipping it. Going without drug coverage can lead to paying the full price for prescriptions, and you may have to pay a penalty if you decide to sign up for Part D later.
Vision, dental and hearing benefits are widespread.
In recent years, it’s become increasingly common for Medicare Advantage plans to offer extra benefits. In 2022, more than 90% offer extra benefits, and most plans offer hearing (99%), vision (94%) and dental coverage (91%).
Insurers also offer a range of discounts and perks. Nearly all (92%) plans now offer worldwide emergency services, and 91% include fitness programs. Plans are also adding benefits such as transportation (33%), over-the-counter drug allowances (76%) and telehealth (94%). Many also offer extra support for members who have more complex health needs as well as in-home support and home safety modification and devices, provided by 7% of plans.
Just over half of Medicare Advantage plans have $0 premiums.
An attractive feature of many Medicare Advantage plans is affordable monthly premiums. More than half (54%) have no premium at all for Medicare Parts C and D. But even members of $0-premium plans still typically pay Medicare Part A and B premiums, though some Medicare Advantage plans pay for all or part of the Part B premiums.
When you’re choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, though, consider all the costs. Lower premiums can come with higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.
How to Get The Best Medicare Advantage Plan for You
More than 26 million people — 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries — enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2021, more than double the number enrolled a decade ago. There are only more Medicare Advantage options for people in 2022.
Medicare Advantage is comprehensive health insurance that brings together separate parts of the Medicare program into one package. Medicare Advantage can be convenient and cost-effective.
But, it’s not for everyone. Some people prefer the flexibility of piecing together different types of coverage for themselves. And some people already have coverage through an employer, the military or other source. Medicare Advantage is great, but there are other amazing health insurance options as well.
Because most people have access to a wide range of Medicare Advantage options, it should at least be part of your consideration if you’re eligible for Medicare.
What Is Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, brings together the benefits of Original Medicare and extra services and benefits into one comprehensive health plan. Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private insurers.
Many Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage, which people on Original Medicare can buy separately. Increasingly, Medicare Advantage plans also have coverage for hearing, vision and dental care, fitness benefits and many others.
Medicare Advantage plans cannot be combined with supplemental coverage such as Medigap or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
Who Should Get Medicare Advantage?
Because Medicare Advantage plans bundle different kinds of coverage, these plans are best for people who appreciate a one-stop-shop approach to health insurance. Most Medicare-eligible people have a wide range of Medicare Advantage options, so the chances of finding one that suits your needs are high for most people.
Who Shouldn’t Get Medicare Advantage?
If you only need supplemental coverage or prefer to manage the different elements of Medicare benefits individually, you may not need a Medicare Advantage plan. Also, if you have access to retirement benefits through an employer, the military (TRICARE) or another source, you probably don’t need Medicare Advantage.
Finally, some people have limited Medicare Advantage options; though less common, it may work out better for these individuals to go with Original Medicare and buy separate supplemental coverage.
Expert Advice: Finding the Best Medicare Advantage Plan
- What are the best reasons to choose a Medicare Advantage Plan?
- What are the trade-offs between buying a Medicare Advantage plan versus a Prescription Drug Plan?
- What are reasons to not buy a Medicare Advantage Plan?
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About the Author
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