Anthem vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield: Medicare Advantage Comparison

Anthem is a BCBS company, but its numbers fall below the BCBS collective average.
Kate Ashford, CSA®
By Kate Ashford, CSA® 
Published
Edited by Holly Carey

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Anthem-branded Medicare Advantage plans are available in only 14 states, and Anthem’s average star ratings and member experience scores from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) fall below average. Anthem also offers 4-star plans in only three states.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is a collective of 33 independent companies, offers plans in most U.S. states, but ratings vary across companies — some perform better than others. Member experience ratings overall are above average for major providers. Benefits available vary by BCBS company.

Here’s a look at how Anthem and BCBS compare.

Anthem Medicare Advantage

Anthem Medicare Advantage

Anthem

3.45

CMS Star Rating

Anthem's plans offer a range of benefits and flexible care, but plans are available in only 14 states and receive below-average star ratings.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

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from askchapter.org

States available

14 states


Members in high-rated plans

Low (49% or less)


Member experience

2.89 (Below average)


States available

14 states


Members in high-rated plans

Low (49% or less)


Member experience

2.89 (Below average)


Pros

  • Most plans cover prescription drugs and offer some coverage for dental, hearing and vision care.
  • Anthem's "Essential Extras" benefits let members choose extra plan benefits that meet their needs, such as $500/year toward assistive devices or $150/quarter toward household utilities.

Cons

  • Available in only 14 states.
  • Below-average overall star rating and member experience scores from CMS.
  • 4-star rated plans available in only three states.

Other factors to consider

Provider size

Part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield collective, which is the 3rd-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage enrollment

More than 1.3 million.

Percent of plans rated 4 stars or higher

5%.

Percent of plans with $0 premium

59%.

Plans available

HMO, HMO-POS, PPO, SNP.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage

Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage

Blue Cross Blue Shield

3.86

CMS Star Rating

Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are widely available and affordable, but some companies earn higher marks than others on member satisfaction.

M-F 9am-9pm ET, Sa 10am-9pm ET

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

GET A QUOTE

from askchapter.org

States available

48 states and Puerto Rico


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.39 (Above average)


States available

48 states and Puerto Rico


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.39 (Above average)


Pros

  • BCBS companies offer plans in 48 states and Puerto Rico.
  • $0-premium BCBS plans are available in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
  • BCBS plans offer extra benefits like chronic condition management and preloaded debit cards for over-the-counter items.

Cons

  • Ratings and member satisfaction vary among BCBS companies, and some score lower than others. You may not have access to a highly rated BCBS company.
  • BCBS companies offer special needs plans in only half of U.S. states.

Other factors to consider

Provider size

3rd-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage enrollment

4.4 million.

Percent of plans rated 4 stars or higher

43%.

Percent of plans with $0 premium

57%.

Plans available

HMO, HMO-POS, PPO, PFFS, SNP.

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).

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

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