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Just over 2 million people in North Carolina are signed up for Medicare, making it the ninth-largest U.S. state for Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare is the government health care program for people age 65 and older. Medicare Advantage is a bundled alternative to Medicare that offers all the same benefits and usually some extras, such as cost savings on dental and vision coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans offer more benefits than Original Medicare, and they can be cheaper than paying for Medicare and a Medicare Supplement plan. However, they have less flexibility since you’ll need to get care from within the plan’s network of providers. Weigh your options to determine which plan best suits your needs.
What to know about Medicare in North Carolina
Almost 1 in 6 people in North Carolina are 65 and older, and the state offers a wide variety of Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.
The average monthly premium in 2022 for a Medicare Advantage plan in North Carolina is $15.22. (It was $16.51 in 2021.)
There are 145 Medicare Advantage plans available in North Carolina in 2022. (This number is up from 126 plans in 2021.)
All Medicare-eligible people in North Carolina have access to a $0-premium Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage providers in North Carolina
Alignment Health Plan.
Care N’ Care Insurance Company of North Carolina.
Clear Spring Health.
Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in North Carolina
Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, awards every Medicare Advantage plan a star rating on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being a top-rated plan. Below are plans that received top marks in North Carolina for the 2022 plan year. (Check out more information about Medicare star ratings.)
The plans below are rated 5 stars out of 5 by the CMS:
Care N’ Care Insurance Company of North Carolina: HealthTeam Advantage Plan I, HealthTeam Advantage Plan II.
UnitedHealthcare: AARP Medicare Advantage Patriot (HMO-POS), AARP Medicare Advantage Plan 1, AARP Medicare Advantage Plan 2, AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens, Erickson Advantage Freedom, Erickson Advantage Liberty with Drugs, Erickson Advantage Liberty without Drugs, Erickson Advantage Signature with Drugs.
The plans below are rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by the CMS:
Aetna Medicare: Aetna Medicare Eagle Plan, Aetna Medicare Essential Plan, Aetna Medicare Premier Plan, Aetna Medicare Premier Plus Plan, Aetna Medicare Value Plan (PPO).
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina: Blue Medicare Choice, Blue Medicare Enhanced, Blue Medicare Essential, Blue Medicare Essential Plus, Blue Medicare Freedom+, Blue Medicare Medical Only, Blue Medicare PPO Enhanced.
Cigna: Cigna Fundamental Medicare, Cigna Preferred Medicare, Cigna Preferred Plus Medicare.
Humana: Humana Gold Plus, HumanaChoice (in select counties).
This list doesn't include special needs plans, which restrict membership to people with certain diseases or characteristics, such as having a chronic illness or living in a nursing home.
How to choose a Medicare Advantage plan
It’s crucial to ask a few questions as you’re shopping for the right plan. Here’s a quick checklist to help you consider your options:
How much 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 doctor (or doctors) or hospital, make sure they participate in the plan’s network.
Are your prescriptions covered? If you’re on medication, 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 have any additional perks, such as fitness memberships, transportation benefits or meal delivery?
You can use Medicare’s plan finding tool to compare plans in your area.
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.
If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).
Looking for additional insurance in North Carolina? Check out these resources: