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Medicare Advantage is an all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare that includes all the benefits of Original Medicare and often a few extras, such as dental and vision coverage. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers, and plan availability depends on location.
are a popular option for people who are eligible for : In 2021, about 4 in 10 Medicare-eligible people are in a Medicare Advantage plan. But each plan has different strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a rundown of the top Medicare Advantage plans in 2021.
Average Medicare star rating: 3.9 out of 5.
Service area: Available in 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Standout feature: UnitedHealthcare offers the largest Medicare Advantage network of all companies, with more than 850,000 network care providers.
UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans and offers plans in two-thirds of U.S. counties. UnitedHealthcare also partners with , insuring the Medicare products that carry the AARP name. Many of UHC’s members are in highly rated plans, although member satisfaction ratings are lower than those of several other providers.
Average Medicare star rating: 3.7 out of 5.
Service area: Available in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
Standout feature: In addition to dental, vision and hearing coverage, Aetna Medicare members have access to a variety of other benefits, such as in-home health visits and meal delivery after a hospital stay.
Aetna is the fourth-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans, and Aetna is a CVS Health company. Most of Aetna’s plans provide , and , and many offer other extras. Some valuable Aetna benefits include companionship benefits in six states, a Home Heart Care program to help members with congestive heart failure monitor their condition at home, and concierge services to help members find local resources and activities.
Average Medicare star rating: 4.9 out of 5.
Service area: Available in eight states and Washington, D.C.
Standout feature: Kaiser stands head-and-shoulders above other providers in terms of the company’s , and the company tops a list of nine providers for member satisfaction.
Kaiser Permanente is the fifth-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans, with 1.7 million members enrolled in 2021. Kaiser is also the largest not-for-profit health maintenance organization in the U.S., and the company uses an integrated care model, which means members can get all their care in one place and all their providers are connected. Kaiser plans are available in only eight states and Washington, D.C.
Average Medicare star rating: 3.7 out of 5.
Service area: Available in 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Standout feature: Humana offers $0-premium plans in 47 states, and the company estimates that 6 out of 10 members are in a $0-premium plan in 2021.
Humana is the second-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans, and in addition to being the most widely available, the company offers $0-premium plans in nearly every U.S. state. Although the company’s average Medicare star rating is sub-4, the vast majority of the plan’s members are in highly rated plans.
Average Medicare star rating: 4.0 out of 5.
Service area: Available in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Standout feature: Highmark gets solid Medicare star ratings from the CMS and high customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power.
Highmark is a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield family, which includes 35 independent companies that together form the third-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans. As far as Blue companies go, Highmark’s plans are highly rated and ranked for member satisfaction.
The right Medicare Advantage plan for you will depend on your health history, prescription medications and where you live, among other things. Here are some strategies for selecting the best plan:
You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you first become eligible for Medicare (your initial enrollment period) or during designated .
For information on the Medicare Advantage plans near you, use to see what’s available.