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Best Medicare Advantage Plans in California

Discover popular companies, plan type comparisons, average costs, and when to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan in California.

A Medicare Advantage plan in California is an alternative to Original Medicare for beneficiaries at least 65 years old or with end-stage renal disease. While you’re still a Medicare beneficiary and should keep your red, white and blue Medicare card in a safe place, you will use your Medicare Advantage card once your coverage begins.

Find Plans in Your Area

Top rated Medicare Advantage plan providers in California

Here are some of the private insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage plans for 2022:

  • Aetna Medicare.
  • Alignment Health Plan.
  • Anthem Blue Cross.
  • Aspire Health.
  • Astiva Health.
  • Blue Shield of California.
  • Brand New Day.
  • Central Health Medicare Plan.

Here’s what you need to know about Medicare Advantage plans in California:

  • Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies authorized by the federal government.
  • These companies are required to follow rules set by the government.
  • All Advantage plans are required to provide Medicare coverage equal to that offered by Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Most plans add benefits that you can’t get through Original Medicare or a Medicare Supplement insurance
  • Most Medicare Advantage plans reduce out-of-pocket costs while enhancing benefits.
  • You will still have some expenses out of pocket like the Part B premium and coinsurance.
  • Some $0 premium plans will return some or all of the Part B premium as a social security check rebate.

Popular Medicare Advantage Plans in California

Medicare Advantage PPO

  • PPO offers a large network of covered healthcare providers, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Out-of-network coverage is allowed with higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Primary care physicians and referrals aren’t required.

Medicare Advantage HMO Plan

  • Many plans offer $0 premiums.
  • An extensive referral network lowers out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare Advantage D-SNP

  • Additional coverage is provided to beneficiaries with chronic conditions or low income under dual eligible special needs plans.
  • Beneficiaries can use Medicare and Medicaid together to cover copayments, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket expenses more thoroughly.

California Enrollment Facts:

  • 42% of Medicare beneficiaries nationwide are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans
  • 43% in Of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in California.

When to sign up for Medicare Advantage Plans in California

Initial Enrollment Period

Your first period of eligibility starts three months prior to the month you turn 65 and ends three months after. That gives you seven months to consider your enrollment options, compare rates and benefits from various insurance companies, and make sure an Advantage plan is the best option for you.

Open Enrollment Period – AKA Annual Election Period

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 to December 7. It allows you to enroll in an Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare if you don’t like your Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

From January 1 to March 31 each year, you can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare. You cannot use this enrollment period if you are not already enrolled in an Advantage plan.

Special Enrollment Periods – Special Circumstances

You may have the option to enroll in an Advantage plan outside of the annual and initial enrollment periods due to special circumstances. Some of the more common special circumstances include:

  • You move out of the service area for your current plan and need to select a new plan.
  • You lose health care insurance from a private insurer.
  • You move back to the United States after living in a foreign country.

5-star Special Enrollment Period

Insurance companies are rated by Medicare every year, based on information obtained from health care providers and beneficiaries plus an analysis of their plans. The best rating possible is a five star.

If a five-star Medicare Advantage plan becomes available in your area, you have the option to switch to that plan between November 8 and December 30. You can only use this special enrollment period one time.

Special Enrollment Periods if you get “Extra Help”

If you receive Extra Help or have Medicaid, you have three special enrollment periods. You can only make one change to your California Medicare Advantage plan or drug coverage each period.

  • January – March
  • April – June
  • July – September

Signing up for Medicare Parts A and B is your first step. You may also want to read a complete description of benefits so that you’ll know what Medicare covers without additional Medicare health plans.

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