UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage 2024 Review

UHC Medicare Advantage makes well-rated plans widely available, but member experience is middle of the pack.
Alex Rosenberg
Kate Ashford, CSA®
By Kate Ashford, CSA® and  Alex Rosenberg 
Edited by Holly Carey

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UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage - UHC

UnitedHealthcare

4.17

CMS Star Rating

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are widely available and boast the largest Medicare Advantage provider network, although member experience ratings are average.

(855) 821-0556 / TTY 711

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from UnitedHealthcare

States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.55 (Average)


States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.55 (Average)


Pros

  • Largest Medicare Advantage medical network of all companies, with more than 1 million providers.
  • Largest Medicare Advantage dental network, and all standard plans offer dental coverage.
  • Available in 49 states and Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • Member experience scores are average.
  • Offers one of the highest-priced special needs plans, although lower-priced plans are also available.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are available in almost every U.S. state, and UHC is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans

. The company also partners with AARP, insuring the Medicare products that carry the AARP name.

About 4 out of 5 (80%) UnitedHealthcare members are in highly rated plans, and UnitedHealthcare's 2024 star ratings are slightly above the industry average

NerdWallet analysis of CMS data. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (ZIP). Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
. But UHC lands in the middle of major providers on member experience scores.

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

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage pros and cons

UnitedHealthcare’s offerings have advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

Provider network: UnitedHealthcare offers the largest Medicare Advantage network of all companies, with more than 1 million network care providers.

Dental network: UHC offers the biggest dental network of all Medicare Advantage providers, and all standard plans offer some dental coverage.

$0 copays: All members of standard Medicare Advantage plans have a $0 copay for virtual visits, mammograms, colonoscopies, and routine exams for dental, vision and hearing care.

Home benefits: UHC offers annual home health visits for members who need a house call.

Cons

Average member satisfaction ratings: Despite being a behemoth in the industry, UnitedHealthcare's member experience scores are about average among major providers.

Special needs plans can get pricey: While lower-priced plans are available, UnitedHealthcare also offers the highest-priced special needs plan (SNP) in 2024, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the cost for plans that fit your needs.

UHC Medicare Advantage star ratings

Average star rating, weighted by enrollment: 4.17

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services maintains a database of star ratings on every Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plan, ranging 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, UnitedHealthcare’s 2024 Medicare Advantage plans got an average rating of 4.17 stars

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2024 Star Ratings Data Tables (ZIP). Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
.

For comparison, the average weighted star rating for plans from all providers was 4.04

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Fact Sheet - 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings. Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
.

Eight UnitedHealthcare contracts received 5-star ratings, and 10 received 4.5 stars. Nine contracts were too new or otherwise lacking enough data to be rated.

Of UnitedHealthcare members who are in Medicare Advantage contracts with a star rating, 4 out of 5 (80%) are in contracts rated 4 stars or above as of March 2024

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Monthly Enrollment by Contract. Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
.

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

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

What does UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage cost?

Costs for Medicare Advantage plans will depend on your plan, geographic location and health needs.

Premiums

One of the costs to consider is the plan’s premium, and in 2024, 69% of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans are $0-premium plans.

Even as a Medicare Advantage user, you’ll still be responsible for paying your Medicare Part B premium, which is at least $174.70 per month in 2024

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Costs. Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
. (Most people pay this standard amount, but if your income is above a certain threshold, you’ll pay more.)

Copays, coinsurance and deductibles

Requirements for copays, coinsurance and deductibles vary depending on your plan, location and the services you use. 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 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 whether the plan charges for them.

Here are some examples of UHC Medicare Advantage costs for the most popular plans in a mid-range city:

UHC/AARP Medicare Advantage plan

Pricing

AARP Medicare Advantage from UHC KC-0004 (PPO)

Monthly premium: $0.

Out-of-pocket max: $3,700.

Copays:

  • Primary care: $0.

  • Specialist: $25.

  • Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.

AARP Medicare Advantage Patriot No Rx KS-MA01 (PPO)

Monthly premium: $0.

Out-of-pocket max: $4,400.

Copays:

  • Primary care: $0.

  • Specialist: $40.

  • Tier 1 prescription drugs: N/A.

AARP Medicare Advantage from UHC KC-0002 (HMO-POS)

Monthly premium: $0.

Out-of-pocket max: $4,900.

Copays:

  • Primary care: $0.

  • Specialist: $40.

  • Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.

Selected plans are available in ZIP code 66013.

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 UnitedHealthcare plans or compare across carriers.

Additional benefits

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage offers most plan members access to dental care (and the largest Medicare Advantage dental network) and hearing aids. Many of its plans offer other benefits as well. Here are a few standouts:

  • Fitness benefits: UnitedHealthcare’s Renew Active fitness program gives members access to a large network of gyms and fitness facilities, as well as local classes and events. Members can also access a library of online workout videos and an online brain health program from AARP Staying Sharp.

  • Food and over-the-counter allowance: Some dual health plan members may get an allowance they can put toward their choice of healthy foods, over-the-counter items and utility bills.

  • Healthy rewards: Members may be able to earn rewards for completing health-related tasks, such as getting their annual physical.

  • Home health visits: Most plans include HouseCalls, a program that offers members an annual visit with a licensed clinician in their home, which can be used to help manage care.

  • Care coordinators for complex problems: People in UHC’s Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) have access to one-on-one support for a variety of needs through UHC’s Navigate4Me program.

  • Telehealth: Many members have access to plans offering $0 copays for telehealth visits.

UHC Medicare Advantage plan types

UnitedHealthcare offers several kinds of Medicare Advantage plans, and they vary in terms of structure, costs and benefits available.

In general, UnitedHealthcare offers Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans as well as stand-alone prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans without drug coverage. UHC also offers Medicare Advantage Patriot Plans, which are geared toward veterans and other people with existing drug coverage

UnitedHealthcare. Medicare Advantage Plans with veterans in mind. Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
.

Other plan offerings include the following types:

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

HMO point-of-service plans are HMO plans that allow members to get some out-of-network services, but you’ll pay more for those services.

Preferred provider organization (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.

UnitedHealthcare’s private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans allow you to see any Medicare-approved provider who accepts your UnitedHealthcare plan. You won’t have to pick a primary doctor, and you won’t need a referral to see a specialist.

Special needs plans (SNPs) restrict membership to people with certain diseases or characteristics. The benefits, network and drug formularies are tailored to the needs of those members. UnitedHealthcare offers three types of SNPs:

  • Chronic Condition SNP: Designed to meet the needs of members living with certain chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes or chronic heart failure.

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

  • Institutional plans: Provide specialized care to members who live in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities and need an institutional level of care.

Third-party ratings

A few companies weigh in on health plans or on the strength of the company in question, and we’ve included three:

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior)

AM Best is a credit rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry. In December 2023, AM Best affirmed its Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) for the companies collectively referred to as UnitedHealthcare. An A+ rating in this category indicates that AM Best believes UnitedHealthcare has a superior ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations

.

J.D. Power Ranking

In its 2023 U.S. Medicare Advantage Study — the ninth it’s done so far — J.D. Power measured member satisfaction with Medicare Advantage plans based on eight factors ranging from level of trust to how well a provider resolves problems or complaints. The study was fielded in the five biggest Medicare markets, and here’s how UnitedHealthcare ranked out of all major providers

:

NCQA Score Range: 2.0 to 4.5 out of 5

The National Committee for Quality Assurance rates health insurance plans on a 5-point scale (with 5 being best) based on quality of care, patient satisfaction and health plans’ efforts to keep improving.

In its September 2023 ratings of UnitedHealthcare plans, NCQA awarded ratings between 2.0 and 4.5 stars. Among the company’s plans with ratings, more than half received scores of 3.5 or above, but there were 23 plans with 3.0 stars, 15 plans with 2.5 stars and one plan with 2.0 stars — UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company in Hawaii

NCQA. Health Plans. Accessed Apr 22, 2024.
.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare service area

UnitedHealthcare offers Medicare Advantage plans in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Ninety-six percent of Medicare beneficiaries have the option of a UnitedHealthcare plan.

UnitedHealthcare is the largest for-profit Medicare Advantage provider in the country, with 9.4 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan. The company added 478,000 members for the 2024 plan year, according to a report from health care analytics firm The Chartis Group

.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is part of UnitedHealth Group, which is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It's the largest health insurance company in the U.S. The company offers individual- and employer-based health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans, dental and vision plans, and other types of supplemental insurance.

Read the NerdWallet reviews of these other UnitedHealthcare Medicare offerings:

Read the NerdWallet reviews of these other AARP insurance products:

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage customer service

UnitedHealthcare members can contact their plan’s customer service in the following ways:

  • Call the number on their member ID card.

  • Chat with a service advocate (available once members log in to their member page).

  • Call 800-721-0627 (TTY: 711) for technical issues 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time seven days a week.

Is AARP Medicare Advantage the same as UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage?

AARP and UnitedHealthcare are partners — UnitedHealthcare sells AARP-branded Medicare plans. AARP is not a health insurer, but it sells Medicare plans that are insured by UnitedHealthcare.

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.

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).
Frequently asked questions

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are rated slightly above the industry average. The provider’s 2024 Medicare Advantage plans received an average rating of 4.17 stars out of 5 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, weighted by enrollment. For comparison, the average weighted star rating for plans from all providers was 4.04.

No, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are sold by a private insurance company that has contracted with the federal government to sell Medicare plans. Members of these plans generally must use the providers and hospitals within the plan’s network for their nonemergency health care. If they go out-of-network, they may pay more. Original Medicare, on the other hand, is sold by the federal government, and members of these plans can visit any doctor or hospital in the U.S. that accepts Medicare.

Among Medicare Advantage members, the largest percentage are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan. In 2024, UnitedHealthcare accounts for 29% of the Medicare Advantage market, or 9.4 million members, according to health care analytics firm The Chartis Group. The next-closest insurer, Humana, accounts for 18%.

Methodology

Medicare Advantage review methodology

The Medicare Advantage marketplace is concentrated among just a handful of companies; in many places, one insurer serves more than half of the market. NerdWallet reviewed 26 Medicare Advantage brands, with some insurers having more than one brand under their umbrella. (For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield includes the brands Anthem and Highmark.) At the national level, these reviews include nine of the 10 largest brands by enrollment. At the state level, our research includes at least one major insurer in 47 of the 49 states that offer Medicare Advantage plans, and includes the top two insurers in 35 of those states. (Alaska doesn't offer Medicare Advantage plans.) We also look at online search volume to identify regional and other notable players in the space.

NerdWallet’s Medicare Advantage reviews are based on ratings data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as pricing, plan availability by state, plan types available, consumer experience, extra benefits offered and more. These reviews are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several plans to find the best coverage and rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines for additional information.

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans