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Compare Top Medicare Advantage Plans in 2022

Medicare Advantage plans in 2022 combine Original Medicare with additional benefits above basic health insurance coverage.

To choose the best Medicare Advantage plan company, first, you will need to review how this type of health plan works. With a Medicare Advantage plan, also known as Part C or MA plan, you will receive:

Plus a wide range of additional benefits, such as: 

  • Prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D plan)
  • Vision and hearing insurance
  • Gym and fitness benefits
  • Dental coverage

Copays and deductibles are usually higher under Medicare Advantage plans than they are under a Medicare Supplement plan, but your monthly premiums are low or free. You will need to use network providers under most Medicare Advantage plans.

What are the best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2022?

1. Best for Large Network: Cigna-HealthSpring

  • Affordable plans with a wide network of providers
  • Cigna plans received a 4.5 out of 5-star rating, according to Medicare’s CMS rating system
  • Nationwide Medicare Part D prescription drug plan with $0 deductible and $0 copay for many medications
  • Cigna enrollees receive additional benefits, such as hearing, dental and vision coverage; transportation assistance and health coaching
  • Cigna sells Medicare Advantage plans in 23 states

2. Best for most Plan Options: Humana

  • Wide range of Medicare Advantage plan options
  • Plans available in Puerto Rico and 46 states
  • Humana MA plans scored a 4.5-star rating out of 5 in Medicare’s CMS rating system
  • In some service areas, beneficiaries can enroll in HMO plans with $0 monthly premiums
  • Other benefits include Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, plus hearing, dental  and fitness benefits
  • Humana PPO plans (preferred provider organization) allow you to receive care from any provider — in or out of your network, but you pay less if you stay in-network
  • With Humana private-fee-for-service (PFFS) plans you do not need referrals from primary care providers for specialist

3. Best for Extra Benefits: Aetna Medicare Advantage

  • Aetna Medicare Advantage plans received 4 to 5-star rating in Medicare’s CMS rating system
  • Aetna plans are available as both an HMO (health maintenance organization) and a PPO (preferred provider organization)
  • Aetna sells Medicare Advantage plans in 46 states and Washington, D.C. It also sells stand-alone drug policies in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
  • Additional benefits, such as SilverSneakers fitness program, home delivery Part D prescription drug plan and meals at home program

4. Best for 5 Star-Rating: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Medicare’s CMS rating system in nearly all states where they are offer
  • Coverage is only available in eight states and Washington D.C.
  • Advantage Plus option offers additional benefits, such as dental, hearing and vision coverage

What are the 4 Medicare Advantage types?

1. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Network of a group of doctors, hospitals, and medical facilities that contract with a plan to provide services.

2. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

Network of doctors, specialists, hospitals and other healthcare providers, but you can also use out-of-network providers for covered services for a higher cost.

3. Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS)

Plan determines how much it will pay doctors, other health care providers and hospitals, and how much you must pay when you get care

4. Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

Provides benefits and services to people with specific diseases, certain healthcare needs or limited incomes.

Our licensed insurance experts at Policy Guide look forward to working with you to select the best Medicare company for you and health insurance pricing that works for your budget.

What is the highest-rated Medicare Advantage plan in 2022?

For the highest-rated Medicare Advantage plans, look for companies ranked 5 out of 5 stars in Medicare CMS ratings. This varies in service areas from state to state and in regions within a state.

Be sure to look at the providers you could choose from in any particular plan and also whether the medication you take is covered in the prescription drug plan.

At Policy Guide, we work with Medicare beneficiaries every day sorting through companies and different policies and would look forward to sharing that expertise with you to pick out the best plan. You can count on us to spend the time you need to understand the pros and cons of different types of Medicare coverage.

How Much Does a Medicare Advantage Plan Typically Cost in 2022?

The average cost of a Medicare Advantage premium is around $20 per month. For costs beyond that, plans set the amounts they charge for premiums, deductibles, and services every year. The health insurance plan along with CMS decides how to price the covered services. What you pay the plan may change only once a year, on Jan. 1.

Medicare Advantage Faq's:

Why Are Some Medicare Advantage Plans Free?

First, private insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage (Part C) insurance plans.

These health insurance plans roll in traditional Medicare Part A and Part B, which is managed by the federal government, along with additional benefits. Because of that, the government reimburses these companies for those services directly instead of paying a provider.

To make their plans more appealing to Medicare enrollees, some private insurers offer $0 monthly premiums.

If you have been paying into Medicare, you will not have to pay Part A premiums whether you have a Medicare Advantage plan or not.

Some provider plans pay all or part of your Part B monthly premium, which is $148.50 in 2021. Part B also has an annual deductible.

If your Medicare Advantage insurance plan reimburses some or all of your Part B premiums, you will still need to pay other fees associated with Part B, such as copays and coinsurance.

What Do Medicare Advantage Plans Not Cover?

The nice feature of Part C Medicare Advantage Plans is that they can cover so much beyond Original Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. These perks include coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, transportation and fitness classes/gyms like SilverSneakers.

Seeing a specialist is more complicated under a Medicare Advantage plan than a Medicare Supplement plan because your primary care provider will need to make a referral first.

Under a Medicare Advantage health plan, you will be responsible for copays and coinsurance.

You’ll also want to speak to your licensed insurance agent about health coverage during foreign travel. Medicare coverage is more limited under a MA plan than a Medigap plan when you travel both abroad and domestically.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare insurance is complicated. We’d like to help you by breaking down coverage under a Medicare Advantage plan.

Here are the pros of Medicare Advantage plans: 

  • Includes Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) benefits
  • Extra health and wellness benefits, such as dental, vision, fitness, transportation and hearing
  • Includes Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage
  • Cost savings when you see network providers
  • Emergency and urgent care coverage
  • The yearly limit on what you pay out of pocket for Medicare Part A and
    Part B services
  • Some plans may have a $0 monthly premium or may help pay all or part of your Part B premium
  • Many companies offer a variety of plans, not all of which are HMOs (health maintenance organizations). Some offer more flexible plan options to see preferred providers (PPO), but you would pay more out of pocket to do that.

Here are the cons of a Medicare Advantage plan: 

  • Plans generally don’t cover care outside the U.S.
  • More out-of-pocket costs, such as coinsurance and copays. For this reason, MA plans are better for someone who has fewer healthcare needs. The Medicare out-of-pocket maximum is $7,550 for 2021. (2022 amount to be announced)
  • Less flexibility: For most plans, you will have to see network providers
  • Referrals: You’ll need to see your primary care provider before you can see a specialist.

What if I Want to Change My Medicare Advantage Plan?

You have two enrollment options:

  • Open Enrollment Period – Between Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, anyone eligible for Medicare can join, switch companies or drop a Medicare Advantage plan. Your coverage will begin on Jan. 1 as long as the plan gets your request by Dec. 7.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period –  Between Jan. 1 – March 31 each year, you can switch to another Medicare Advantage company (with or without drug coverage). You can also drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare.

What is the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage?

Here are some of the key differences between a Medigap plan and Medicare Advantage health insurance plan:

Medicare Supplemental Insurance or Medigap

  • Higher premiums but limits out-of-pocket costs that occur after traditional Medicare pays its share of fees
  • You  pay a monthly premium for the plan.
  • More freedom to see the provider of your choice. You don’t have to stay within a certain network or get a referral from a primary care provider. This is especially helpful if you travel often.
  • You’ll need to buy a Part D plan for prescription drugs. This is not included in a Medicare Supplement plan.
  • Better coverage for foreign travel healthcare emergencies
  • You can’t be denied coverage for chronic or pre-existing conditions if you purchase a Medigap plan when you first become eligible for Medicare
  • You will have Original Medicare + Medigap.
  • Medigap doesn’t take the place of Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage Plans

  • Lower or free monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs for coinsurance and copayments
  • Required to stay within a network of providers for the most cost-efficient plans. If the health insurance company changes the providers in its network, you would have to switch your providers.
  • Includes prescription drug coverage plus other healthcare benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing, fitness and transportation.
  • Rolls in Original Medicare into the plan so your plan pays your Medicare costs to providers, not the federal government.
  • Higher out-of-pocket maximum before Medicare covers all healthcare costs.

Is a Medicare Advantage Plan Worth It?

Yes, but this depends on how often you need medical care since you will be responsible for more out-of-pocket expenses under a Medicare Advantage plan than Medigap.

For those on a limited budget, Medicare Advantage can be helpful because of the lower monthly premiums if you don’t need to see a healthcare provider often. The extra benefits and perks MA plan companies offer, such as vision, dental and drug benefits, as well as a low to free monthly premium make them attractive to many Medicare enrollees.

Why do doctors not like Medicare Advantage plans?

With a Medicare Advantage plan, the insurance company handles all of your Medicare payments. It’s in charge of administering your Original Medicare benefits (Part A and Part B) plus the benefits specific to your Medicare Advantage plan.

Because the federal government doesn’t pay providers directly, sometimes Medicare Advantage plans pay providers less than they would receive under Original Medicare. This can happen because these private insurance companies try to keep their costs down.

Because enrolles in Medicare Advantage are assigned to a provider network, it can be more cumbersome for primary care providers to get approval for a specialist or additional testing or procedures.

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