Allwell Medicare Advantage 2023 Review

Now under the Wellcare name, Allwell falls behind other providers in ratings and member satisfaction.

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Allwell is a Medicare brand of Centene Corp., the sixth-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans in 2022

. Allwell recently became a Medicare brand under Wellcare, which was acquired by Centene in 2020.

Though Allwell is part of a larger brand (Centene), Allwell’s ratings are far below average. Less than a quarter of Allwell’s members who are in 2022 contracts with a Medicare Star Rating are in contracts with a rating of 4 or higher (out of 5), and none of Allwell's 2023 contracts are rated above a 3.5. Allwell’s plans struggle in many categories, and member satisfaction places them behind other major Medicare Advantage providers.

Here’s what you should know about Allwell Medicare Advantage.

Allwell Medicare Advantage pros and cons

Allwell’s offerings have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Company strength: Allwell’s parent company, Centene, acquired Wellcare in 2020, and the combined entities claimed 5.01% of the Medicare Advantage market in 2022 [3].

  • Extra benefits: Some Wellcare by Allwell plans include the Flex Card, which comes preloaded with additional funds members can use on dental, vision and hearing benefits once they’ve exhausted their plan coverage.

  • Additional benefits for the chronically ill: Some plans include special supplementary benefits for the chronically ill, including a Flex Card for utility costs, a care concierge service, grocery delivery and a robotic companion pet.

  • Part B premium coverage: Some plans include a Giveback benefit that refunds some or all of your Medicare Part B premium.

Cons

  • Lower star ratings: For 2023, the average star rating from Medicare for Wellcare by Allwell contracts, weighted by enrollment, is 3.05 stars (out of 5 stars), compared with an overall average among all Medicare Advantage plans of 4.15 stars. Allwell’s contracts also score poorly on several individual factors, from customer service to the percentage of plan members who get a flu shot.

  • Member discontent: When it comes to member satisfaction, J.D. Power found that Centene (Allwell’s parent company) came in last out of the nine Medicare Advantage companies ranked.

  • Limited state coverage: Allwell Medicare Advantage plans are available in only 19 states.

Available Medicare Advantage plans

Allwell offers a few kinds of Medicare Advantage plans, and they vary in structure, costs and benefits.

In general, Allwell offers Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, or MAPDs, as well as Medicare Advantage Plans without drug coverage.

Plan availability may vary by county. Other plan offerings may include the following types:

A health maintenance organization, or HMO, generally requires that you use a specific network of doctors and hospitals. You may need a referral from your primary doctor in order to see a specialist, and out-of-network benefits are usually very limited.

Preferred provider organization, or PPO, plans provide the most freedom, allowing you to see any provider that accepts the insurance. You may not need to choose a primary doctor, and you don’t need referrals to see specialists. You can seek out-of-network care, although it may cost more than seeing an in-network doctor.

Special needs plans restrict membership to people with certain diseases or characteristics. Hence, the benefits, network and drug formularies are tailored to the needs of those members. Allwell offers two types of SNPs:

  • Chronic Condition SNP: For people with one or more specific conditions, such as chronic heart failure, congestive heart failure or diabetes.

  • Dual-Eligible SNP: For people who are entitled to Medicare and who also qualify for assistance from a state Medicaid program.

Additional benefits

Wellcare by Allwell Medicare Advantage offers most members access to dental, vision and hearing coverage, unlike Original Medicare. Many of its plans offer other benefits, as well. Here are a few standouts:

  • Flex Card: Depending on your plan and service area, some members may have access to a Visa debit card preloaded with between $200 and $2,500 that they can use to help pay for dental, vision or hearing needs beyond plan coverage.

  • Over-the-counter benefit: Some plan members may get an allowance they can put toward over-the-counter items like cough and cold meds, first-aid supplies, vitamins and pain relievers.

  • Fitness benefits: Some plans may cover the cost of an annual membership at a participating health club or fitness center.

  • Meal delivery: Some plans include free meal delivery for a specific number of days with no copay.

  • Telehealth: Many plans cover telehealth video visits with no copay.

Customer service

Allwell Medicare Advantage members can contact their plan’s customer service in a couple of ways:

Allwell Medicare Advantage service area

Wellcare by Allwell offers Medicare Advantage plans in 19 states, and the Wellcare brand will offer Medicare Advantage plans in 209 new counties in 2023.

Centene, Allwell’s parent company, is tied with a few other companies as the seventh-largest health insurer in the country, and it’s the fifth-largest provider among for-profit health plans. More than 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Centene Medicare Advantage plan as of September 2022, and the company added 338,000 new members for the 2022 plan year

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Cost

Costs for Medicare Advantage plans will depend on your plan, your geographic location and your health needs. One of the costs to consider is the plan’s premium, and many Medicare Advantage plans have a $0 premium. Nearly 7 in 10 Wellcare by Allwell plans in 2023 have no premium.

For 2023 Allwell Medicare Advantage plans with a premium, the monthly consolidated premium (including Part C and Part D) ranges from $6.10 to $35

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 MA Landscape Source File (v 09 06 2022) (ZIP). Accessed Oct 6, 2022.
. For special needs plans, or SNPs, monthly premiums range from $5.80 to $31.60.

Even as a Medicare Advantage user, you’ll still be responsible for paying your Medicare Part B premium, which is $170.10 per month in 2022 ($164.90 in 2023), although some plans cover part or all of this cost.

Other out-of-pocket costs to consider include:

  • Whether the plan covers any part of your monthly Medicare Part B premium.

  • The plan’s yearly deductibles and any other deductibles, such as a drug deductible.

  • Copayments and/or coinsurance for each visit or service. For instance, there may be a $10 copay for seeing your primary doctor and a $45 copay for seeing a specialist.

  • The plan’s in-network and out-of-network out-of-pocket maximums.

  • Whether your medical providers are in-network or out-of-network, or how often you may go out of network for care.

  • Whether you require extra benefits, and if the plan charges for them.

To get a sense of costs, use Medicare’s plan finding tool to compare information among available plans in your area. You can select by insurance carrier to see only Allwell plans, or compare across carriers. You can also shop directly from Allwell’s website by entering your ZIP code.

Medicare star ratings

Average star rating, weighted by enrollment: 3.05

If you want Medicare’s take on Allwell’s plans, look no further than the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' own star ratings, which rank each plan from best (5 stars) to worst (1 star). The agency bases these ratings on plans’ quality of care and measurements of customer satisfaction, and ratings may change from year to year.

All Medicare Advantage plans are evaluated on health plan measures, and Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage are also evaluated on drug plan measures.

Based on the most recent year of data and weighted by enrollment, Allwell’s 2023 Medicare Advantage plans get an average rating of 3.05 stars. There are no 2023 Wellcare by Allwell plans rated higher than 3.5 stars

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 Star Ratings Data Table (ZIP). Accessed Oct 6, 2022.
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For comparison, the average star rating for plans from all providers for 2023 is 4.15

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2023 Medicare Star Ratings Fact Sheet (PDF). Accessed Oct 6, 2022.
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Of Wellcare by Allwell members who are in contracts with a Medicare Star Rating, only 22% are in contracts rated 4.0 or above as of September 2022

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Monthly Enrollment by Contract, 2022-09. Accessed Oct 6, 2022.
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To get an overall star rating, the CMS ranks contracts on 40 plan factors. (You can find definitions for each of these factors in the CMS Star Ratings Technical Notes.) Here’s where Allwell plans really delivered, with average scores of 4.5 (out of 5) and above:

  • Care for older adults — medication review.

  • Medicare Plan Finder price accuracy.

  • Medication Therapy Management program completion rate for Comprehensive Medication Review.

In some categories, Allwell contracts averaged a sub-3.0 score. (You can find definitions for each of these factors in the CMS Star Ratings Technical Notes.)

  • Colorectal cancer screening.

  • Annual flu vaccine.

  • Monitoring physical activity.

  • Special needs plan (SNP) care management.

  • Diabetes care — eye exam.

  • Diabetes care — blood sugar controlled.

  • Controlling blood pressure.

  • Improving bladder control.

  • Medication reconciliation post-discharge.

  • Customer service.

  • Rating of health plan.

  • Complaints about the health plan.

  • Members choosing to leave the plan (health plan).

  • Health plan quality improvement.

  • Complaints about the drug plan.

  • Members choosing to leave the plan (drug plan).

  • Drug plan quality improvement.

  • Medication adherence for diabetes medications.

  • Medication adherence for hypertension (RAS antagonists).

  • Medication adherence for cholesterol (statins).

You can find a plan’s rating with Medicare's plan finding tool.

Third-party ratings

There are a few companies that weigh in on health plans or on the strength of the company in question, and we’ve included two here:

J.D. Power Ranking: 9th out of 9

In its 2022 Medicare Advantage Study — the eighth it's done so far — J.D. Power measured member satisfaction with Medicare Advantage plans based on six factors: coverage and benefits, provider choice, cost, customer service, information and communication, and billing and payment. On these measures, parent company Centene scored 773 points out of 1,000 and came in last out of the top nine Medicare Advantage providers

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NCQA Score Range: 2.0 to 2.5 out of 5

The National Committee for Quality Assurance rates health insurance plans on a 5-point scale (with 5 being best) based on clinical quality, member satisfaction and results from the NCQA's accreditation survey. The ratings highlight the results of care and what patients say about their care.

In its September 2022 scoring of Allwell plans, the NCQA awarded ratings between 2.0 and 2.5 stars to the three Allwell plans with enough data reported

NCQA. Health Plans. Accessed Oct 6, 2022.
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Compare Medicare Advantage providers

Get more information below about some of the major Medicare Advantage providers. These insurers offer plans in most states. The plans you can choose from will depend on your ZIP code and county.

About Allwell

Allwell is a Medicare brand of Centene Corp., which was founded in 1984. In 2020, Centene acquired Wellcare, and in 2022, Allwell became a Medicare Brand under the Wellcare name. Centene headquarters are in St. Louis, Missouri. Centene offers coverage through Medicaid and Medicare Advantage, as well as individual and family coverage through the health insurance marketplace. As of September 2022, Centene covered more than 1.5 million Medicare Advantage members.

Centene posted total revenues of $126 billion in 2021.

» MORE: Read our review of Wellcare Part D prescription drug plans

Find the right Medicare Advantage plan

It’s important to do your research before selecting a Medicare Advantage plan for yourself. Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • What are the plan’s costs? Do you understand what the plan’s premium, deductibles, copays and/or coinsurance will be? Can you afford them?

  • Is your doctor in-network? If you have a preferred medical provider or providers, make sure they participate in the plan’s network.

  • Are your prescriptions covered? If you’re on medication, it’s crucial to understand how the plan covers it. What tier are your prescription drugs on, and are there any coverage rules that apply to them?

  • Is there dental coverage? Does the plan offer routine coverage for vision, dental and hearing needs?

  • Are there extras? Does the plan offer any extra benefits, such as fitness memberships, transportation benefits or meal delivery?

If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).
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