Medicare Advantage plans or free Medicare supplement plans, which Medicare-approved organizations offer, typically combine hospital (Part A) and medical (Part B) benefits, as well as prescription drug (Part D) coverage. Original Medicare does not cover certain aspects of these plans, such as eye exams and fitness programs.
Among those widely accessible in the US, NewMedicare chose the top insurance companies based on their Medicare quality ratings to assist you in comparing 2022 Medicare Advantage plans. Additionally, let’s see how Medicare advantage makes money if most of its coverage is free.
The Top Medicare Advantage Provider Overall
The PPO plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield are NewMedicare’s top choice for the best overall Medicare Advantage option.
To find the best Medicare Advantage plan, NewMedicare take into account insurance providers that provide benefits in at least 25 states, offer various coverage options, and receive high-quality ratings from the federal agency that regulates Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
PPOs provide more flexibility than HMOs, with broader networks and the ability to consult specialists without a referral from a primary care physician. Despite the fact that PPO plans are typically more expensive than HMO plans, NewMedicare ranks them first because of their access to a wide range of services.
Like any significant financial decision, the best Medicare Advantage plan for you will depend on your needs, preferences, and local options.
The State with the Best Medicare Advantage Provider
Some insurers only operate in one state, and not all offer Medicare Advantage plans. Depending on where you live, a major national health insurance provider might not be your best option. Local plans can be affordably priced and of a high caliber.
In many states, Sky Cross, Blue Shield, Humana, and United Healthcare receive the top rankings among the national carriers. Aetna Medicare has the highest overall rating in most (23) states.
However, there isn’t just one “best plan.” Your requirements and preferences will determine the best option for you. Consider your budget and the extra services and benefits most important to you.
The Top Medicare Advantage Provider for Drug-Uncovered Plans
For Medicare beneficiaries, prescription drug coverage is an optional benefit that is not a part of Original Medicare. Even though many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, you can choose one that does not.
If you don’t require any prescription medications, the benefit of a Medicare Advantage plan without drug coverage is that you can save money. However, if you later find that you require a prescription, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the medication, which could result in you having to pay much more.
If you don’t enroll in Medicare drug coverage during your initial enrollment period, you’ll be penalized if you do so later. The penalty’s severity will vary depending on how long you went without drug coverage.
You cannot obtain stand-alone drug coverage and continue receiving Medicare Advantage benefits, so keep that in mind if you enroll in a different prescription drug plan.
UnitedHealthcare has the best rating for the provider of Medicare Advantage plans without prescription drug coverage by NewMedicare.
The Best HMO Provider for Medicare Advantage
UnitedHealthcare is the best overall carrier among Medicare Advantage HMOs available in at least 25 states, according to NewMedicare, depending upon Medicare Star Ratings and the availability of significant extra benefits.
The best HMO for you depends on your lifestyle, options, and top priorities. Your preferences, priorities, and budget may suggest a different course of action.
If you’re unsure if an HMO is best for you, weigh the advantages and disadvantages. HMOs are typically more expensive but less expensive.
If you need to see a specialist, your primary care physician will probably need to refer you. Additionally, you’ll probably only be able to access care through a predetermined provider network; visiting a doctor outside that network may be challenging and more expensive.
The best Medicare Advantage supplier for low-cost plans
Medicare Advantage plans can be pretty affordable, with many having no monthly fees. However, the trade-off may involve higher out-of-pocket expenses. Don’t just look at the premiums when assessing a plan’s price.
Pay close attention to the maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) cost, which establishes the annual limit on what you’ll be required to pay for covered services. NewMedicare looked at highly regarded national carriers offering Medicare Advantage plans in at least 25 states with MOOPs in the bottom 75th percentile to find the best plan with lower MOOPs.
These criteria led NewMedicare to conclude that Aetna Medicare was the best choice.
Understanding the Best Medicare Advantage Plans
Choosing the ideal Medicare Advantage plan for you can be challenging. Although there are general quality ratings, your particular needs will determine which plan is best for you.
You could inquire about whether your drugs are covered and sort through the options at what cost. Do you require access to additional services to treat a particular condition? Would you instead take a chance on a higher-deductible, lower-premium plan or pay more each month to save money later?
Only you can decide which plans are better for you than others because only you can answer these questions.
Medicare Advantage cover prescription drug coverage.
Drug coverage is provided by 71% of Medicare Advantage plans. People choose Medicare Advantage plans because combining Original Medicare benefits with prescription insurance (Medicare Part D benefits) is easy. Some individuals, such as those who can obtain prescription insurance elsewhere, may prefer a plan without drug coverage. Even though you might not want to pay for prescription benefits if you don’t take any medications, stop and think before doing so. If you don’t have drug coverage, you might have to pay the full price of your prescriptions, and if you decide to join Part D later, you might have to pay a fee.
The majority of Medicare Advantage or supplemental insurance is PPO or HMO.
PPO or HMO plans make up 46% and 39% of all Medicare Advantage plans.
Private fee-for-service plans compensate providers per service rather than per patient under their care. Since these plans don’t always have a predetermined network of providers, members can visit almost any provider who accepts Medicare. PFFS plans make up just 2% of Medicare Advantage plans.
A different type of Medicare Advantage plan called a Medicare Medical Savings Account combines high-deductible insurance for Medicare Advantage benefits with medical savings account that you can use to pay your Medicare-related expenses before you reach the deductible. MSAs make up 10% of all Medicare Advantage plans.
Many Advantage plans are available for hearing, vision, and dental care.
Medicare Advantage plans are increasingly offering added benefits in recent years. More than 90% of plans in 2022 offer additional benefits, and the majority of them include vision (94%), hearing (99%), and dental coverage (91%).
Insurers also provide numerous discounts and benefits. Today, 92% of plans offer international emergency services, and 91% include fitness programs. Additionally, benefits like transportation (33%), over-the-counter drug allowances (76%), and telehealth (94%) are being added to plans. Many also provide additional assistance for members with more complex medical requirements, in-home service, and home safety modifications and devices, which are covered by 7% of plans.
There are $0 premiums for just over half of the Medicare Advantage plans.
The low monthly premiums of many Medicare Advantage plans are an appealing aspect. For Medicare Parts C and D, 54% of people pay no premium. Although some Medicare Advantage plans cover all or part of the Part B premiums, even members of $0-premium plans typically still have to pay Medicare Part A and B premiums.
Though, weigh all the costs before selecting a Medicare Advantage plan. Higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses may accompany lower premiums.
How to Find Your Ideal Medicare Advantage Plan or free supplemental insurance?
In 2021, more than 26 million individuals, or 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries, enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, more than twice as many as those ten years prior. In 2022, people will only have more Medicare Advantage options.
Medicare Advantage is all-inclusive health coverage that combines various elements of the Medicare program into a single plan. Medicare Advantage can be both practical and affordable. But not everyone will enjoy it. Some people prefer the adaptability of assembling various forms of insurance for themselves. And some people already have coverage from an employer, the military, or another organization. Although Medicare Advantage is excellent, other fantastic health insurance options exist.
If you qualify for Medicare, you should at least consider Medicare Advantage options because the majority of people have to access many plans.
Medicare Advantage: What Is It?
Medicare Advantage also referred to as Medicare Part C, combines Original Medicare benefits with additional services and benefits into a single comprehensive health plan. Private insurers provide Medicare Advantage plans.
Prescription drug coverage, which Original Medicare beneficiaries can purchase separately, is a common feature of Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans increasingly offer additional benefits like hearing, vision, and dental insurance and fitness benefits.
Medicare Advantage plans cannot be combined with stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or free Medicare supplement insurance like Medigap.
Medicare Advantage Is Best For Whom?
Medicare Advantage plans are the best for people who value a one-stop-shop approach to health insurance because they bundle various types of coverage. Most Medicare-eligible individuals have access to a wide variety of Medicare Advantage plans, making the likelihood that you’ll find one that meets your needs high.
Medicare Advantage is not appropriate for whom?
You might not require a Medicare Advantage plan if you only require free Medicare supplement coverage or prefer to handle the various aspects of your Medicare benefits separately. Additionally, you probably don’t need Medicare Advantage if you have access to retirement benefits through your employer, the military (TRICARE), or another source.
Finally, some individuals may find it more advantageous to opt for Original Medicare and purchase separate supplemental insurance for older adults, even though this is less common.
How on earth can a Medicare Advantage plan be free and cost nothing?
Free Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare Part C plans with no annual fee. Unlike other Medicare plans, these zero-premium Medicare Advantage plans do not have a yearly enrollment fee. In most cases, there is no coverage difference between a free plan and a premium one. Regardless of cost, most Medicare Part C plans include Parts A and B, prescription drugs, and other free Medicare supplement plan benefits.
So why do companies offer these Medicare plans at no cost? Medicare pays a predetermined sum to a business with contracts for Parts A and B insurance. In-network providers can help the company save money, which they may pass to their customers. You might benefit from this by receiving a free monthly premium. Companies can use these cost-free Medicare Advantage programs to entice customers with attractive discounts.
Is premium-free (0 premium) Medicare Advantage or Medicare supplement plans free?
Even though zero-cost Medicare Advantage plans are advertised as being free, you will nonetheless incur some out-of-pocket costs, such as:
- The cost of a Medicare Advantage plan’s monthly premium: You won’t have to pay a monthly premium if your Medicare Advantage plan is free.
- The monthly Part B premium: Most free Medicare Advantage plans continue to levy a separate monthly Part B fee. This expense might be covered by some insurance plans but not by others. The average person’s Part B premium is $148.50 per month.
- Deductibles: Most Medicare Advantage plans have one of two yearly deductible types. You must pay a deductible every year before your insurance starts to pay. You might also be assessed a drug deductible by the plan.
- Coinsurance/copayments: The majority of Medicare Advantage programs require copayments. Every time you receive medical care from your doctor, you must pay a copayment out of pocket. A coinsurance fee, which represents a portion of all medical costs that you are required to pay, may also be imposed by some plans.
Depending on how they are set up, Medicare Advantage plans can range in price. For instance, depending on whether your provider is in-network, different copayment amounts are required under PPO plans. Even year-to-year variations in these prices are possible. For the past few years, the cost of PFFS plans, for instance, has risen annually by a small percentage.
Are Medicare Advantage plans without monthly premiums available to you?
There are none for the free Medicare Advantage plans. Many Advantage plans offer a free monthly premium as one of their healthcare plan options. You can typically sort your options by “affordable monthly premium” when looking for a Medicare Advantage plan in your area to find no-cost options.
Pay attention to the mailings your plan sends you each year with your proof of coverage and annual notice of change to keep track of your Medicare Advantage costs. You can keep up with any price or charge changes in this way.
RESOURCES TO HELP WITH MEDICAL COST COVERAGE AND GET FREE MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT
An essential tactic for controlling Medicare costs is to use available resources to pay for or lower Medicare expenses. Some of the resources offered are as follows:
- Medicaid: This program has helped more than 10 million low-income people who lack the resources to pay for medical expenses.
- Medicare Savings Programs: Through these programs, low-income Medicare Advantage beneficiaries may qualify for help with premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
- SSI (Supplemental Security Income): This benefit gives people with disabilities of any kind, who are blind, or over 65, a monthly payment that can help defray the cost of Medicare.
- Additional sources of information: Residents of specific US territories or people with high prescription drug costs may be eligible for other programs.
- Free Medicare Advantage plans are private Medicare Advantage plans that have no monthly premiums.
- Even though these plans advertise as cost-free, you will still need to pay for premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.
- You can search for free Medicare Advantage plans in your area if you have Medicare and are enrolled in Parts A and B.
Visit our website NewMedicare.com to learn more.