Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois for 2019
Are you trying to compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois for 2019? If you’re a Medicare beneficiary who wants to control deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance from Original Medicare, Medicare Part C plans in Illinois might offer you the right solution. Besides offering you enhanced coverage for modest premiums, an Illinois Medicare Advantage plan might also have other valuable benefits that you can use to save money, such as prescription drug coverage in the form of an included Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D). In exchange, you may have to give up some of the flexibility that you have with Original Medicare, but many people like these stand-alone policies best for 2019.
Best Time to Enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois for 2019
Mostly, you must have enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B or have an enrollment coming up soon. An insurance company can’t decline you for any medical condition except End Stage Renal Disease ESRD. There are special Medicare Part C plans available in Illinois for 2019 that are best for people who have ESRD.
Beyond these basic qualifications, you should note these specific enrollment periods:
- Initial Coverage Election Period: If you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B at 65, you get a seven-month period that begins three months before the month you will first qualify.
- Annual Election Period: This is the annual period each autumn when you can switch Part D and your Illinois Medicare plan.
- Special Election Periods: A Special Election Period, or SEP, might occur if you move, lose other coverage, and for other life changes.
- Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period: You get six months that begin on January 1 to drop your Medicare Advantage plan and pick up a new Part D plan if you need to.
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2019 if you qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B because you’re 65 or younger and disabled. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you should bring your new insurance card to use instead of your Original Medicare card.
Best Type of Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois for Each Individual’s Needs
If you aren’t happy with the way your current Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois works, you should know that you can find different kinds of Medicare Advantage plan. This list briefly summarizes the most common types:
Health Maintenance Organization HMO plans:
An HMO Medicare Part C plan will have the most restrictions but is also more likely to come with a very low or $0 monthly premium. About 46 percent of people who enroll in an Illinois Medicare Advantage plan, choose an HMO as the best fit for their needs. You can also choose an HMO-POS, which will allow you to use out-of-network health care services in certain situations for an added cost. Many HMO plans for 2019 are MAPD plans, which means they include prescription drug coverage.
Preferred Provider Organization PPO plans:
A PPO Medicare Advantage plan provides you with the best amount flexibility, but won’t be as likely to come with a $0 premium. A little over half of all Medicare Advantage plan members in Illinois choose a local or regional PPO.
Special Needs Plans SNPs:
Insurers design Special Needs Plans to best suit the requirements of a beneficiary who has institutional conditions and/or chronic health conditions.
A MedicarePart C plan in Illinois that is for people who are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and Medicaid is called a dual-eligible plan.
End Stage Renal Disease ESRD plans:
Every state has plans designed for beneficiaries with Original Medicare and ESRD.
Private Fee-for-Service PFFS:
These cost-sharing plans are beneficial because they don’t have network restrictions. However, because coverage is not regulated by Medicare, you could end up having to pay a higher portion of your healthcare expenses than with many Medicare Advantage plans.
MSA Savings Account Plan:
With a savings account plan, you will have a high-deductible Medicare Advantage plan for coverage. Then, you will have an additional savings account that you can draw from when you need money for services from your health care providers, such as if you haven’t met your deductible yet.
Enrollment Statistics for Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois for 2019
As a Medicare beneficiary, it might be best to learn what other people do instead of only relying upon Original Medicare for 2019. These are some statistics for Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois:
- Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois enrollment percent: 19 percent
- Illinois residents with Medicare Advantage plans: 405,756
This list shows the largest Illinois counties and population counts:
- Cook County, IL: 5,211,263
- DuPage County, IL: 930,128
- Lake County, IL: 703,520
- Will County, IL: 692,661
- Kane County, IL: 534,667
Will Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois Cover Prescription Drugs in 2019?
Most beneficiaries will enroll in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans that provide both medical and prescription drug benefits. When you compare the best drug coverage of Illinois Medicare Advantage plans, these are a couple of things you should notice:
- The formulary: This is simply a list of all covered prescription medicine.
- Prescription Drug Tiers: Insurance companies may pay differently for various kinds of prescriptions, like specialty medicine, brand-name medicine, and generic medicine.
Network Restrictions for Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois: What is Best?
It’s important to understand how a network Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois will work with a network. Medicare Part C is another name for Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Part A and B don’t rely upon plan networks to control expenses, but the vast majority of Medicare Part C plans in 2019 do. This is because Medicare lets private insurers offer Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois that work differently than Original Medicare works.
These are some things to know about the way a Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois for 2019 might work that is different than Medicare Part A and Part B:
- A Medicare Part C HMO: An HMO will not pay for most out-of-network services at all. They usually make exceptions only for emergencies and other rare circumstances. Also, you will probably need to have a primary care doctor give you a referral to a specialist.
- A Medicare Part C PPO: A PPO will cover more for in-network providers. However, if you have a reason to choose an out-of-network provider, you can still get covered at lower rates. You also won’t need to pick a primary care doctor, or PCP.
In either case, it’s important to compare the hospitals and doctors on the in-network list to make sure you can find your favorite doctor and hospital. Your best Medicare Advantage plan choice will give you affordable rates, convenient providers, and better benefits than Medicare Part A and Part B.
Most of the time, these MA plans will also cover some things that Medicare Part A and B won’t cover. These might include membership to fitness clubs and even some dental, hearing, and vision benefits.
Top-Rated Companies Offering Medicare Advantage Plans in Illinois for 2019
Out of over 400,000 members of Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois, 75 percent have signed up with the largest three insurers. This table displays the market share for each of these companies:
Medicare assigns a rating to each plan, and the 5-star rating is the best. In the past, some of Humana’s HMO and PPO Medicare Part C plans in Illinois earned high star ratings from Medicare for program performance. The company recently announced that they expect the percentage of members in plans with at least a star rating of 4 to increase for 2019. At this time, there was no information about Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois with a 5-star rating, but new data may be released during Open Enrollment. Illinois Blue Cross, and Cigna also had past programs with good star ratings.
The Best Illinois Medicare Resources
These authority links can help you learn more about Medicare Part A and Part B and Medicare Advantage in Illinois. They can also help you take the right steps to sign up for Medicare coverage and to pay your Medicare Part B premium. These are important first steps to take before you can look for health plans that offer more coverage.
- SHIP: Extra Health for Medicare in Illinois
- Illinois Volunteer Locator List for Seniors
- CMS: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Once you have signed up for your original Medicare benefits, we can help you find a plan that will provide you with savings on out-of-pocket costs. We work with all of the top companies with top star ratings, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, so that we can help you find the best Medicare Advantage plan options in Illinois for 2019. Our insurance agents can also help provide a complete description of benefits for Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap), in case you might be interested in one of them instead. To get help with your health care and health insurance needs, don’t hesitate to call us today!