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Medicare Advantage

Current offers from top Medicare Advantage Plan issuers – Comparing Medicare carrier plans

Are you researching your healthcare options under Medicare? If so, it is important to understand exactly how a Medicare Part C plan will stack up against a plan under Original Medicare; these are made up of Part A and Part B plans.

Medicare Part C plans are commonly referred to as Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans. This is a term that is oftentimes used interchangeably in commerce (and within this website). MA Plans offer a great option for participants who want the flexibility to design their own plan. The federal government provides as much money to MA Plan carriers to subsidize your total costs as they do to Original Medicare Plans. So, a basic plan through Part C may cost the same as an Original Medicare plan.

One interesting nuance to Medicare Advantage Plans is that the participant is responsible to pay the plan’s monthly cost (or premium). They must also pay the monthly cost or premium associated with a Medicare Plan B, even though they chose not to take on an Original Medicare plan. This is simply a requirement of Medicare; it should be considered when calculating your total healthcare costs. Thankfully, Plan B premiums are calculated based on a person’s annual income as stated on their individual or joint federal tax filings. These are not one-size-fits-all payments.

Unlike the federally sponsored Part A and Part B plans, Medicare regulates Medicare Advantage plans. But private insurance carriers offer them. In 2013, there were more than 35,000 different types of Medicare Advantage plans offered by numerous companies. The number of policies and companies with Medicare-approved plans increase each year.

The number of plans and providers is increasing every year. But the number of participants opting for Medicare Advantage Plans over Original Medicare is also growing. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), there were approximately 12,671,062 Americans with Medicare Advantage policies in 2012. In 2015, 16.8 million people are enrolled. Now, a person can shop and sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan through the federal Marketplace on Healthcare.gov. This makes simplifies and streamlines the process of finding a plan; one that may offer more benefits for a better price.

This website, MedicarePartC.com, strives to provide you with all of the information you need to research the MA program’s details. It also helps you to find plans offered in your geographic area. But we’ve designed this website to make the method by which you obtain that information easier. For this reason, we are offering you a quick glance and unbiased review of certain Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are offered by companies you may recognize and are curious about.

The companies that we chose to review were randomly selected. They are offered either nationally or only in certain states and have various approval ratings. You may prefer a quick glance at a couple different types of plans. As such, we’ve provided you an unbiased and truthful statement of the facts regarding their Medicare Advantage plans, including their features, costs, pros and cons and their popularity with existing participants. Not every review will apply to you if the plan is not offered in your state. But it is a good idea to at least know what is out there.

It is also important to note that these insurance companies did not compensate MedicarePartC.com to write these reviews. They were simply written for your benefit, in the hopes that it may help you in your research efforts. We know navigating the Medicare system is a winding, confusing, detailed and difficult task.

Please click on the below link to immediately jump to that insurance carrier’s review within this article. Or, you can review all of the information provided on the different carriers. To see more examples of recent plan offerings, other than what is listed on this page, please go to the Medicare Advantage Plans section within our site.

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List of Medicare Advantage Plan Reviews

Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans

Aetna is a American managed healthcare company, with headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. They sell both consumer-directed healthcare insurance coverage and traditional coverage, as well as Medicare Advantage plans. Aetna is one of the largest health insurance providers, with more than 22,719,000 medical members. They also have nearly 15 million dental members and more than 14 million pharmacy members. Their network includes 616,000 primary care doctors and specialists and over 5,400 hospitals.

There are a few different Aetna Medicare Advantage plans if you want comprehensive Medicare coverage. They have programs to help with the costs of Medicare Advantage. These have a higher rating for customer satisfaction than most health insurance companies. Their website is also quite informative and easy to navigate. You can find and compare plans on Aetna.com fairly easily for Medicare Advantage.

The following reviews cover all of the different Aetna Medicare Advantage and supplemental options currently available. These MA plans offer the same type of coverage as you would receive with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). You will receive hospital insurance and medical insurance. All plans also have added benefits, including free fitness facility membership, annual wellness visits and vision and hearing exams.

Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans with Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (MAPD)

Aetna Medicare HMO Plan

Pros:

  1. Annual physical exam
  2. Free gym membership
  3. In-network coverage travels with you
  4. Customer service available 24/7

Cons:

Plans are limited based on regional availability

These plans provide you with tens of thousands of network doctors around the country. You can pick any of these doctors to be your primary care physician. You can also view a list of doctors and hospitals covered by Aetna online.

Purchasing a plan through Aetna is a little bit more difficult online. They do not compare plans easily unless you answer questions related to your health. This makes it difficult to see what extras are provided, such as dental and vision care. However, Aetna states on their Medicare Advantage Web page that they offer extra services, like vision, dental and hearing exams.

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are generally less flexible than other plans. But with Aetna’s large network, you may still be able to keep your physician or pick the one who is right for your health needs. If you want the lowest cost, the HMO plan is definitely the best decision through Aetna. However, it isn’t available in every location. It was not available in three out of the five cities that we researched for this review.

Overall, Aetna provides a variety of Medicare Advantage plans in all states. But some states may have more plans through Aetna than others. It is unclear what services come with some plans, if any extras are included.

Aetna Medicare PPO Plan

Pros:

  1. You pick your doctor and medical facilities
  2. You are not required to have a primary care physician
  3. You can choose out-of-network doctors
  4. Free annual physical exam
  5. Free gym membership
  6. In-network coverage wherever you travel

Cons:

  1. Deductible can be higher on premium drug prescriptions
  2. PPO plan has higher costs
  3. May not be available everywhere

With Aetna’s Medicare Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, you have more flexibility than with HMOs. You can pick any doctor or provider to treat you. But you may pay more out of pocket if they are not in the network. Aetna offers a few incentives for choosing the PPO plan. However, some of these plans have a higher annual premium and may not include prescription drug coverage.

For example, Aetna has the CVS/Pharmacy Prescription Drug Plan, which only covers prescription drugs. The plan finder on Aetna is a little bit confusing to use. You have to decipher which plans do and do not include Medicare Advantage. PPO plans generally have higher monthly costs.

Overall, Aetna provides some decent Medicare Advantage services with their plans. But the extras really do add up and may end up costing more than Original Medicare. It’s difficult to understand how some of the plans work, because of the way that Aetna sets up their plan finder online. To easily compare plans, you can always use the comparison tool on MedicarePartC.com.

Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans without Prescription Drug Coverage (MA)

Pros:

  1. Variety of plans
  2. Extra services

Cons:

  1. Plans cost more
  2. Prescription drug coverage must be added separately

These plans are the same Medicare Advantage Plans as above, but they don’t include prescription drug coverage. They offer a few extras, but this also makes the price higher, for some reason. These plans typically include free fitness facility membership, in-network coverage as you travel, a 24-hour, toll-free hotline to a nurse and high blood pressure management.

Overall, this plan is a similar to the others above. It generally costs the same, even though you are not getting prescription drug medication coverage. In addition, it is less flexible if you choose an HMO; it may also cost more than Original Medicare plans. If would be helpful if more plans were available and published online to examine benefits and costs. This would allow consumers to see what areas of the country have more plans than others. Aetna allows you to find plans based on your location.

Prescription Drug Coverage Plans (Part D Plans)

Aetna CVS Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)

This is the cheapest plan for prescription drugs through Aetna. Plans may cost less depending on your location.

Aetna Medicare Rx Essentials Plan (PDP)

These plans include lower costs for premium drugs, but you pay a higher monthly premium overall. Annual costs are also higher.

Aetna Medicare Rx Premier Plan (PDP)

This is the highest-level plan that you can choose for Aetna prescription drug coverage. It has the most benefits, but also costs the most.

Overall, Aetna has a few different plans with a lot of coverage options if you are looking for HMO, PPO or simple Part D plans for supplemental coverage. However, they don’t have as many free options as other health insurance providers. And, it’s difficult to navigate their plans, since they’re based on location. None of the benefits seem to be that much different. However, some plans cost more depending on where you live. It’s best if you call Aetna to discuss plans or look at plans on MedicarePartC.com for Aetna. This will help you see if you can get a better rate for your MA plan.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS) is recognized for health insurance in most states across America. However, BCBS is actually a global health insurance brand. Over 170 countries have Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance policies. In the United States, Blue Cross Blue Shield insures nearly 100 million, as well.

The origins of BCBS explain a little about the company’s structure and how they create different plans for specific U.S. areas. Originally started in 1929 by Justin Ford Kimball, Blue Cross was a health insurance plan for teachers. Meanwhile, Blue Shield was created to insure mining camps in the Pacific Northwest. Employers paid physicians to cover their employees. In 1982, the two companies merged to create one of the largest brands of health insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are available in all 50 states. The company has an annual revenue of $320 million. However, BCBS is broken down into multiple companies. Each state has its own BCBS program. This can be confusing when trying to find Medicare plans. Thankfully, BCBS has changed its website to include a plan finder.

As a Medicare-approved company, Blue Cross Blue Shield has processed more than 190 million claims from hospitals every year. In combination with other companies, like WellPoint, CareFirst, The Regence Group and Health Care Service Corporation, BCBS’s network has grown incredibly large.

There are a variety of different Medicare Part C plans available through BCBS. But you can also get other kinds of supplemental insurance policies. You may be looking for Medicare Advantage or want a prescription drug policy only. Regardless, BCBS does a good job of providing the basics, while keeping the monthly premiums low. In some cases, plans also include discounts for teeth cleaning, vision exams, hearing aids and other services.

Overview of Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Program

There are a number of Medicare Advantage options with BCBS. Overall, the company has received high quality ratings of 4 and above for most of its plans through Medicare.gov. In addition, customer satisfaction surveys show an average of 70 percent approval from customers across America. Since many of BCBS companies are specific to each state, your ratings and customer satisfaction might be different.

BCBS Medicare Advantage plans were created to help people combine all of their different healthcare needs into one plan, while also keeping a zero- or low-cost monthly premium. There are different types of plans available, depending on your state. These are a few of the most common options.

HMOs

With HMOs through BCBS, you must stay in-network for all of your Medicare care and doctors’ visits. You also must pick pharmacies and hospitals within BCBS’ network. If you decide to receive out-of- network care, you will be responsible for all of the costs. In addition, you’ll need to pick a primary care physician and may need a referral to see a specialist. In general, HMO Medicare plans are better for those who want to keep costs low and don’t mind using only one doctor.

PPOs

With a PPO, you can go to doctors outside of the BCBS network. But your insurance only covers a percentage of the cost. You don’t have to pick a primary care physician. PPO Medicare plans cost a little bit more than HMOs. You may also pay more for coinsurance. In addition, PPOs vary in coverage, depending on the locality or region.

Local vs. regional PPOs

In some areas, BCBS designates local PPOs and regional PPOs. The main difference here is the size of the network. For local PPOs, you may not be able to see out-of-network doctors, who live in another state. For a regional PPO, your network may be limited to hospitals and facilities in multiple states. But you may not be able to travel to California from New York and remain covered.

HMO-POS

HMO-POS plans are popular with Medicare recipients on BCBS. This is because they allow you to go to doctors outside of BCBS network. But you may not be covered for all of the costs. These plans are like a PPO, but they mostly stick to the HMO model. That means you have a primary care doctor and may be able to see out-of-network doctors only when necessary. Prior authorization would be necessary to see any doctors other than those in-network.

PFFS

A BCBS Private-Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan allows you to see doctors and hospitals in any network. But these doctors must accept your plan in order to receive care. These plans typically have a higher cost overall, including a more expensive deductible. Currently, the only available PFFS plan for BCBS is in Arkansas.

SNP

Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are specific Medicare plans only available to individuals with certain diseases or disabilities. The benefits are tailored to meet the demands of these Medicare recipients and provide more choices. All SNPs have prescription drug coverage. And, they can receive care from any doctor who is in the Medicare SNP network. BCBS has a few SNP programs in certain states, like Idaho and Minnesota.

PDPs

For stand-alone prescription drug coverage, BCBS provides certain local and regional PDPs for Medicare recipients. This means that you don’t have to switch to Medicare Advantage in order to start receiving prescription drug coverage. You can add on a PDP to your Original Medicare and get help paying for your prescriptions- as long as they are in BCBS’ network.

Pros and cons for Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare

Looking at the options available for BCBS, some plans aren’t available in other states and some may cost more in certain states. Some regions have more plan options, while others are limited to one HMO. By comparing plans in your area, you can find the lowest cost. This also enables you to get the benefits that you need. If you need more coverage, Blue Cross and Blue Shield may allow you to add on to your coverage for an additional monthly cost.

Pros:

  1. Majority of doctors and facilities know and accept BCBS
  2. Well-established company, with strong revenue
  3. Multiple types of Medicare plans and supplemental plans

Cons:

  1. Specific information for plans is only available through specific state BCBS websites
  2. Process to find and sign up for Medicare plans is still confusing
  3. Some plans have a higher cost for the same amount of benefits as a low-cost plan

You should always be careful when looking at different insurance plans. It seems that BCBS breaks down coverage into different states, and each state’s site is different. Some states have very organized online comparisons and application processes. And some others ask for private information upfront, without telling you what it’s for. Comparing plans online with BCBS only works for some states. You may need to call the BCBS division for your state for more detailed plans.

In addition, it is a bit confusing to figure out where to go for Medicare information on the BCBS website. One method is to just start at www.askbluemedicare.com. This site is owned and operated by BCBS. It provides a step-by-step plan finder to assist you in choosing a plan. While this may be helpful to older Medicare recipients, it may also be confusing. And, it takes a lot of time to get through, since you have to wait for the video elements to load.

The biggest issue with this system is also the “Summary” page that you receive after filling out the questions in the video. This is just a page with a link to your specific state Medicare site for BCBS. You have to go through the process again and fill out answers to even more personal questions to see different options.

Types of BCBS Medicare Programs available

All Medicare plans and rates are broken down by state with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. To search for a BCBS Medicare plan, you’ll need to know the location of where you receive coverage. This will determine the company that you work with. In order to write this review, the most popular and widely available plans were explored further. Not all of these plans are available throughout the U.S. Or, the plan might have a different name depending on the state.

Medicare Advantage Basic (HMO) -Prescription drug coverage included
Medicare Advantage Basic Plus (HMO-POS) – Prescription drug coverage included
Medicare Advantage Premier Plus (HMO-POS) – Prescription drug coverage included
Medicare Plus Blue PPO Vitality – Prescription drug coverage included
Medicare Plus Blue PPO Signature – Prescription drug coverage included
Blue Cross MedicareRX Basic – Stand-alone PDP plan
Blue Cross MedicareRX Value – Stand-alone PDP plan
Blue Cross MedicareRX Plus – Stand-alone PDP plan

As you can see, there are various plans that are not always consistent in each state. In general, you will find a mixture of PPO and HMO plans available in your area. Some states have a confusing plan finder that may list plans like Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc. These plans are not Medicare Advantage, but rather, supplemental or private plans offered by BCBS. You will need to look for Medicare Advantage plans specifically labeled like the ones above; this will ensure that you are comparing the right coverage.

Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits and costs

These prices and benefits are average for these plans. You can find more specific benefits and rates for your state by going to your specific BCBS website. You need to remember that you are responsible for the Medicare Advantage monthly charge or premium. And,, you must pay the monthly charge for Medicare Part B, which is determined based on your annual income.

Medicare Advantage Basic (HMO)

The BCBS Medicare Advantage Basic HMO includes extras, like diabetes management, travel benefits, worldwide emergency coverage, eye exams, hearing exams and the Silver Sneakers fitness program. Prescription drug coverage is also included.
Overall, the basic plan is a good option if you want a low cost month to month and are in good health, as some of the annual deductibles are quite high. In addition, this plan has restrictions on the doctors and hospitals that you can access, because it’s an HMO.

Medicare Advantage Basic Plus (HMO-POS)
With HMO-POS plans like this one, Blue Cross Blue Shield allows you to go outside of the network in special circumstances. The Basic Plus plan allows you go out-of-network, and BCBS will cover some of the costs. However, you are not covered for out-of-network prescription drugs.

The HMO-POS allows you to go to doctors who accept your insurance as a point-of-service (POS) plan. You may not be able to go out of network without the referral from your primary care doctor.

Medicare Advantage Premier Plus (HMO-POS)

With this plan, more of your costs are covered for going out-of-network. And, you have a lower inpatient hospital care costs. This plan offers extras, like worldwide emergency care, hearing exams, eye exams, travel benefits, wellness programs and X-rays.

Prescription drug coverage is available with this plan. Basically, this plan is a great option for those who have higher health costs. It’s also a good choice for those who may need to see a specialist or want to go to an out-of-network facility to receive special care.

Overall thoughts on BCBS Medicare Options offered for 2015

BCBS takes care of its customers by offering a variety of plans, with extra options and low monthly costs. Many have extra services that aren’t included with Original Medicare. Most BCBS plans have a high-quality rating of 4 or better from Medicare.gov, as well.

Overall, the plans provided by BCBS allow for more flexibility, while still finding ways to make sure that your costs are low. You can see other doctors and go out of network when you need to with some plans. That makes it easier for Medicare recipients with chronic illnesses and other problems to receive care when they need it.

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Cigna Medicare Advantage Plans

Over the past 30 years, Cigna has become one of the most well-known and largest private health insurance companies. The company has a decent selection of health plans that you can personalize. And, they have built an innovative site to help you find different plans and compare benefits with costs.

With headquarters in Bloomfield, Connecticut, Cigna is a global health insurance organization that provides medical, dental, life, disability and accident insurance. The company operates in 30 countries and has around $53.74 billion in assets. As a health insurance company, it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a large network with lots of financial strength to support your medical claims.

Cigna’s network is incredibly vast, with over 500,000 physicians. The company also works with more than 8,000 hospitals and facilities; this is among the largest number. This makes it easier to save money with an HMO, where you have to visit in-network doctors and facilities. One reason many people choose Cigna is because of their dental network. They have over 72,000 dental professionals in their network.

Along with its private plans, Cigna offers specific Medicare, Medicare supplemental plans and Medicaid plans. Cigna’s quality score ratings for Medicare Advantage plans range from 3.5 to 4.5 stars. Cigna has different plans in each state. Therefore, you may not be able to find the higher-quality plans in your area. There are also different types of plans to accommodate the needs of Medicare recipients. You can find HMOs, PPOs and PFFS, in addition to stand-alone drug plans if you are looking for separate coverage.

While Cigna does have a large network and a variety of different Medicare plans, it has a lower customer satisfaction score. Looking further into the different plans, you can compare each plan. Some of the Cigna Medicare Advantage plans include extra services, while still offering a lower- or zero-cost plan.

Overview of Cigna Medicare Program

Cigna may have one of the largest networks, but they don’t have the best coverage for Medicare Advantage. In the past, Cigna had Medicare Part C plans in every state. But recently, the company began changing its policies. The states where Cigna offers Medicare Advantage plans are:

Cigna provides a plan finder, with a map of the United States. This map shows which states have Medicare Advantage plans and which states just have prescription drug plans. However, the map is deceiving, as states showing Medicare Advantage coverage may only provide coverage for one county.

Other areas will only have stand-alone prescription drug coverage. To find a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll first need to go to the map. Then, you need to check if it designates your areas as one offering Medicare Part C through Cigna. If not, you can still search through prescription drug plans and compare plan costs. If you have Original Medicare, but want prescription drug coverage, Cigna might be a good option.

Some types of plans offered through Cigna include the following:

HMOs – With an HMO plan, a primary physician manages your care. And, you must stay within network for costs to be covered. Since Cigna’s network is large, many customers find that they are able to keep their doctors. They’re also able to go to the same hospitals as they did before with Original Medicare. However, if you want more flexibility, Cigna also offers other types of HMO plans, like:

An HMO plan is great for anyone who wants to save money on their Medicare insurance. But these people also don’t mind seeing specific doctors who are in Cigna’s network.

PPOs – In some areas, Cigna also offers a PPO plan, which allows you to go out of network. However, you should be prepared to pay some of the costs. Staying in-network saves you money. But if you have to go to an out-of-network doctor, you’ll pay a higher out-of-pocket cost. These plans are best for individuals who need to go an outside doctor or facility once or twice a month. The covered cost and benefits may be limited per plan in different areas, as well.

PFFS – A Private Fee-for-Service health plan allows you to see doctors who are both within and out of Cigna’s network. These plans typically have a higher cost and are very rare. They may only be available in certain states and counties within those states. PFFS plans only work if a doctor accepts the plan, as well.

PDP – A PDP is a stand-alone prescription drug plan from Cigna. All states will have a few different PDP plans that include Part D coverage. These only work with Original Medicare.

Pros and cons of Cigna Medicare Advantage

Cigna does a good job of providing different types of plans. However, the availability of Medicare Advantage through Cigna across the United States is questionable. There isn’t a lot of variety in certain states. And, it can be frustrating to find a plan in a state that only offers Medicare Part C to a small number of counties. Here are some other factors to note before looking into Cigna for your health insurance plan.

Pros:

  1. Among the largest network of physicians and hospitals
  2. Variety of different plans for your budget
  3. Extra services, like fitness, vision, dental and wellness included

Cons:

  1. Medicare Advantage plans not available in all states or counties within those states

Types of Cigna Medicare programs available

With the Cigna Medicare Advantage plan finder, you can browse all states’ coverage. You can easily look at what’s available in your area, as well. Of all the different health insurance carriers, Cigna is among the easiest to use for finding a plan. In certain areas, these plans may be available for you.

With these plans, the best option for you will depend on what coverage you are looking for. The costs per month or per visit will play a role, as well.

Cigna benefits and costs

In areas where Medicare Advantage is available, Cigna offers more than one type of plan. The company also includes different features that allow you to pick a plan for your budget, with the coverage that you want. Most of the plans have a low cost, or even no cost at all, depending on whether you want prescription drug coverage or not.

Cigna-HealthSpring Advantage (HMO) – This plan includes medical insurance, but does not include prescription drug coverage. It is specifically designed for those who require very little drugs and just want to maintain their basic health. Since this is an HMO plan, you’ll need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist.

Some extras are included with this plan, such as dental services. Hearing services are provided, but hearing aids are not covered. Vision services are also provided, and this plan includes one pair of Medicare-covered eyeglasses.

Cigna-HealthSpring Preferred (HMO) – This plan includes prescription drug coverage, as well as medical insurance. This plan is particularly beneficial to those who visit the doctor regularly. With this HMO plan, you’ll need a doctor’s referral to visit a specialist, as well.

This plan also includes extra services, like vision, hearing and dental. For hearing services, this plan covers hearing exams and some other services, but not hearing aids.

Cigna-HealthSpring TotalCare (HMO-SNP) – This is an HMO specifically designed for those with long-term illnesses, certain diseases or specific types of disabilities. Not everyone will qualify for this plan. Prescription drug coverage is included. There are some extra benefits and lower costs for this plan, as well.

You cannot visit out-of-network specialists, doctors or hospitals unless you want to pay out of pocket with this plan. You also need referrals to see certain doctors, other than a primary care doctor. Dental, vision, hearing and prescription drugs are also included with this plan.

Cigna HealthSpring Premier (HMO-POS) – This plan offers a little bit more flexibility than the other Cigna HMO Medicare Advantage plans.

It also has extras, like dental, hearing and vision. This plan is best for an individual who wants a very low-cost plan and will only pay when services or drugs are used.

Overall thoughts on Cigna Medicare Options offered for 2015

In general, Cigna does a good job of providing a variety of health plans and flexibility. However, while Cigna claims to have a Medicare Advantage PPO, none of the states seem to currently offer such a plan. Typically, the trend is to provide HMO-POS plans that allow you to see outside doctors and hospitals, when approved.

Medicare has rated Cigna’s plans mostly with 3 and 4 stars. Some plans in Arizona have achieved a 4.5-star rating. Plans were not rated highly in some areas, because of poor customer satisfaction rates and quality of care.

If looking for very low-cost plans with prescription drug coverage, Cigna definitely has among the most options. The plans aren’t as flexible as others. But among large health carriers, Cigna makes it easy to view different benefits and enroll in their Medicare Advantage plans.

Overall, Cigna could boost its Medicare Advantage plan offerings in the next year. This would allow the company to accommodate more recipients and offer a wider coverage. Currently, the company offers a large number of stand-alone prescription drug plans. Cigna’s plans are best for those who don’t need to see a doctor every week. It also appeals to those who want to pay the minimum, while also being covered for some of the emergency and preventive care costs that may come in the future.

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Erickson Advantage Medicare Advantage Plans

Erickson Advantage is a little bit different than other health insurance companies. One reason is because it was created out of necessity for Erickson communities. These 55 and older communities needed their own care and doctors who were easily accessible. If you are a resident of an Erickson Living community, then you may be able to get a Medicare Advantage plan through Erickson.

For older individuals and those who are disabled, Erickson Advantage is a top choice for Medicare Advantage plans. Erickson Advantage is available exclusively for those who want Medicare Part C and are also a part of Erickson Living communities. These communities are available in 10 states across the country; they can be found by looking at EricksonLiving.com.

These are exclusive, upscale retirement communities with health centers onsite. To join an Erickson Medicare Advantage plan, enrollees must be residents of an Erickson Living community. And, these enrollees must be eligible to receive Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

Erickson Advantage has very high quality ratings, because their application process is very personal and customized. After signing up for an Erickson Advantage plan, you will likely speak with an Erickson Advantage representative. They’ll discuss your coverage options and other aspects of your Medicare plan.

Even though these plans are high quality, they do have a higher cost. The cost compensates for: prescription drug coverage, nurse care coordinator, member services, transportation, skilled nursing care, copays for hospitalizations, dental discounts, preventive care and wellness.

Overview of Erickson Advantage’s Medicare Program

Erickson Advantage recipients enjoy a variety of different Medicare Advantage and supplemental plans. These plans were designed specifically for an older recipient of Medicare, however. Most of the benefits are best for individuals who are 55 and older. All of Erickson Advantage’s plans have a high quality rating by Medicare.gov. But none of the plans have achieved a 5-star status.

With these plans, the quality of care, drugs and nursing facilities is considered to be higher, as well. Customer satisfaction ratings for Erickson Advantage are also very high. However, some of these plans may not be available in your area. The website includes what states are eligible for plans.

Most plans include prescription drug coverage and skilled nursing facilities. In addition, some extras are included to help Erickson Living residents, as well. For example, preventive care and wellness training is available. This provides free flu shots, blood pressure monitoring, diabetes monitoring, mammograms and much more.

There are a lot of things to like about these plans. But there are some services missing or not included, which are provided by other major health insurance carriers.

Pros and cons of Erickson Advantage Medicare Plans

One of the major issues that many people have with Erickson Advantage Medicare plans is that they are quite exclusive. You may only receive care from a primary care physician available through Erickson Living. This means if you live in a community where you don’t like the doctors, or want to see another doctor, you can only do so if you receive a referral. You likely won’t be able to see an out-of-network doctor. That doesn’t mean the plans don’t work for their intended audiences.

These plans are tailored toward old Medicare recipients. So, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy the services provided. .

Pros:

  1. Most plans include prescription drug coverage
  2. Costs are lower for Erickson Living residents
  3. Plans are tailored towards people 65 and older
  4. Dental coverage can be included

Cons:

  1. Plans are expensive
  2. No other extra discounts besides dental, which is just an optional rider
  3. Care is only available through Erickson Living doctors and nurses

If you are a resident in an Erickson Living community, you have probably already received some care and understand how the process works. Much of it isn’t explained on the company’s website, EricksonLiving.com, though.

Types of Erickson Advantage Programs available

Plans are available directly online at Erickson Advantage. You can enroll in any of the plans. The basic plans that Erickson provides are:

When purchasing a plan through Erickson Advantage, there are several options available. Each plan is tailored to fit certain types of medical needs. In addition, you may not be able to see a doctor out-of-network unless you pay out of pocket.

Erickson Advantage benefits and costs

Erickson Advantage provides plans only for certain states. It can be difficult to get coverage in states without Erickson Living communities. Care is provided through a network of physicians and facilities through Erickson Advantage and Erickson Living medical centers. In addition, preferred benefits may cost more.

You may live in an Erickson Living community, but don’t want to join a Medicare plan through Erickson Advantage. If so, you can still receive services from Erickson Advantage medical centers for your community. Unless specified otherwise, these plans are available in your state.

Signature with Drugs – This plan includes prescription drugs, nursing care coordinator, member services, transportation off-site to approved facilities, preventive care, wellness services, skilled nursing care, inpatient hospitalization and an optional dental rider.

Most plan recipients will organize their care through a nurse care coordinator. This coordinator provides all types of services, such as medical procedure scheduling and education and training. You also pay nothing for inpatient hospitalizations. The dental plan’s l rider includes preventive care.

Signature without Drugs – If you are looking for a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t include drugs, then Signature without Drugs offers another choice. This plan has a variety of different services.

Among these are: nurse care coordinator, member services, dental rider, transportation off-site to approved facilities, skilled nursing care, inpatient hospitalizations and an optional dental rider. The benefits of this plan are the same as the other Signature plan. But you don’t receive any coverage for prescription drugs.

Champion

If you have certain medical conditions, the Erickson Advantage Champion plan was tailor-made for you. Among its benefits are: medical equipment, diabetic supplies, hospitalization, transportation off-site to approved facilities, nurse care coordinator, member services representative, preventive care and wellness and an optional dental rider. Some of the preventive services for this plan include the following:

The dental rider, which is optional, includes exams, cleaning, fluoride and X-rays.

Guardian – This plan is only available in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania. This plan is specifically for residents with long-term healthcare needs. It can include or not include prescription drug coverage.

This plan has some extras, like vision exams, eyeglasses, transportation, nurse practitioners and hearing exams. It is also stated that this plan is designed for those who need bedside care. You don’t have to have a three-day hospital stay to receive services. Erickson Advantage doesn’t show you all of the details of this plan or the final monthly premium price online. That’s because the price is tailored to the customer. You can call (866) 774-9671 to speak with an Erickson Advantage representative.

Freedom – The Erickson Advantage Freedom plan includes a variety of different basic services. Among these are: prescription drug coverage, nurse care coordinator, preventive care, wellness care, skilled nursing care and optional dental coverage. Enrollees will also receive access to member services representatives.

This plan may be best for those who are still in good health. If you don’t need to visit the doctor each week, Freedom includes most of the basic services you’ll need, without the hefty price. Prescriptions may be sent right to your home with another service, called OptumRX. This allows you to order and manage all of your prescriptions online.

In addition to these benefits, all residents of Erickson Living communities are covered for emergency health services worldwide. You only have to file a claim if you are out of the area and received care from a provider who wasn’t able to bill directly to Erickson Advantage.

Overall thoughts on Erickson Medicare options offered for 2015

When looking for high-quality, personalized health insurance, Erickson Advantage is among the better plan options. However, this only applies if you are living in an Erickson Living Community. Medicare plans through Erickson Advantage are largely based on where you live and accessibility to one of these communities. In some cases, some plans are not as available as others.

Erickson Advantage does a great job of delivering information on its plans to users. All of the plans are clearly available. They also break down into different sections with details. This enables you to see how the price fluctuates, depending on the copay and type of service being performed.

Erickson Advantage tries to provide a bevy of services. But it becomes a little difficult to imagine everything being available at an Erickson Advantage medical center. In these cases, you would have to go outside of the network in order to receive care. Hopefully, they consider adding more flexible plans in the future and expanding their options to include other areas.

Overall, Medicare.gov gives Erickson Advantage Medicare plans above-4-star ratings, with most at 4.5 or higher. Customer satisfaction rates are also high. They show that Erickson Advantage has helped many Medicare recipients go on to receive the proper care needed.

You may be thinking of switching to an Erickson Advantage plan. If so, you should compare the different plans and decide if you want prescription drug coverage and dental coverage. These services may be worth it simply for the preventive care and wellness programs.

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Humana Medicare Advantage Plans

Humana is a well-established U.S. insurance provider. It has one of the best reputations for offering high-quality insurance plans. The company insures over 12 million people, with an annual revenue of $33 billion. This means it’s capable of comprehensive coverage for all of its members. As all 50 states offer Humana, this is beneficial if you want to switch to a Medicare Advantage (or Medicare Part C) plan. You can find Medicare Part C plans and supplemental insurance for Medicare in all states through Humana.

Multiple Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage are available through Humana, as well. With humble beginnings as a nursing home company in 1964, Humana has grown into an insurance industry leader. The company has won multiple Stevie Awards for its innovations, like its mobile application, MyHumana Mobile.

The Stevie Awards recognize great accomplishments in businesses and by businesspeople across the world each year. Humana also has an excellent rating from A.M. Best, which is an international credit rating agency, with more than 100 years of reviews under its belt. Humana received the Dorland Health Award for exceptional services in Medicare Advantage, as well.

Do you want to get Medicare insurance through Humana? If so, the company has set up an easy process through its website for finding any plan in any state. Of course, Humana isn’t without its share of complaints and hiccups. Overall, you’ll find Humana to be one of the best avenues for Medicare Part C plans. Humana offers a variety of plans with and without prescription coverage, as well as extra options.

Overview of Humana Medicare Program

To get a Medicare Advantage plan through Humana, you have a number of different options. There are basically three choices, including the following:

HMOs – With a health maintenance organization (HMO), you use healthcare professionals only in Humana’s large network. You also must go to facilities and hospitals that are covered by Humana. If you want a less expensive option, HMOs are typically your best option. And, they still have extra options, like dental, vision and prescription drug coverage.

PPOs – Humana Medicare Advantage PPOs stand for preferred provider organizations. These plans have more flexibility, in that you don’t have to pick a primary care doctor in Humana’s network. You can go to any doctor or facility that you wish. But you may pay a higher coinsurance for certain doctors or hospitals.

Even under a PPO policy, Humana has a list of preferred doctors and hospitals. Your claim will be covered no matter whom you go to. However, you may have to pay a little extra coinsurance if you go off the list. But you will certainly save money if you choose to use Humana’s network doctors and hospitals. For this flexibility, these plans have different costs and expenses.

PFFS – Private-Fee-For-Service plans allow you to use in-network and out-of-network doctors and hospitals. But they must accept the Humana Medicare-approved plan. Therefore, when making an appointment, it is always important to first ask the receptionist whether they accept your plan. These plans have the same benefits as the other types of plans.

PDPs – For Medicare enrollees, Humana offers other supplemental options, including plans that are only for prescription drugs. These are called PDPs, Part D plans or prescription drug plans. Humana partners with Wal-Mart pharmacies to offer lower-cost prescription drugs to its customers.

Each Humana plan breaks down prescription drug costs by tier. And, each tier includes a certain list or category of medications. If you take certain medications every day, it is important to figure out what tier your medication is part of. Then, you need to determine the plan that makes the most financial sense, based on the tier coverage that you require.

Pros and cons of Humana Medicare

For Medicare recipients, the cost of Humana Medicare plans is just one aspect of choosing the right plan. There are some things you should be aware of when comparing these plans. One of the major points to consider is the structure of different plans, which can be deceiving. When you look at Humana plans in your area, compare each carefully. These are some other points to be aware of:

Pros:

  1. Financial strength
  2. Multiple Medicare options
  3. Extra services (dental, vision and hearing)

Cons:

  1. Plans are limited by service areas.
  2. Customer service complaints are higher in some areas

While there are a number of different Humana Medicare Advantage plans, they are limited in certain service areas. There may be only one or two PPO plans or HMO plans available, in addition to Medigap and PDPs. Medicare also rate plans for their quality. Areas with higher-quality plans may have more services available and better customer satisfaction ratings. The true measure of these plans is determined by Medicare, which gives all Medicare Advantage plans a quality rating.

Currently, Humana’s plans average around 4 out of 5 stars. Medicare rates these plans based on: customer satisfaction, quality of coverage, long-term care, preventive services and customer surveys. Plans are rated in each service area. So, the plan available in your area may not be as high quality.

These stars are based on the 2015’s plan offerings; they may not reflect the star rating for the 2015 calendar year. The star rating for a plan is released in the fall for the following calendar year. If you do find a 5-star Humana plan, you can switch to this or any other 5-star plan during the special 5-star enrollment period. For the 2016 calendar year, this would run from December 8, 2015 to November 30, 2016. This same timeline applies for every subsequent year.

Types of programs available

Humana has several Medicare Part C plans that specify what is covered and what is not. By default, Humana must cover all services covered by Original Medicare (Part A and B). Medicare requires that people always pay their Part B premium, in addition to your Medicare Advantage premium. The following are a number of different Humana plans available throughout the country. Please be aware that your geographic service area may not offer all of these policies.

Each of these plans has different costs. Benefits may change each year on January 1, but these are the current available plans through Humana.

Benefits and costs

Humana Medicare plans offer the same services as Original Medicare. But some plans include prescription drug coverage and other extras. This section breaks down each Medicare Part C Humana plan in detail. But to see plans specific to your area, you’ll need to go to Humana.com and type in your ZIP code to search all plans available.

HumanaChoice PPO — With this PPO plan, medical coverage is included. However, prescription drug coverage is not available. You can see in-network and out-of-network doctors with this plan, as well. Discounts are available for dental, vision, hearing and weight management through this plan. In general, Humana has great coverage for inpatient hospital care.

HumanaChoice PPO with PDP — This plan, which includes medical coverage, allows you to see in-network and out-of-network doctors. Some extras include dental, vision and hearing discounts, as well as a 24-hour nurse advice line.

Humana Gold Plus HMO — With the Humana HMO Medicare Advantage, you receive both medical and prescription drug coverage Extra discounts are included for dental, vision and hearing. However, you must pick a primary care doctor and go to in-network facilities with this plan. You may need a referral to see a specialist.

HumanaChoice PPO — For a PPO with prescription drug coverage, this is the best option. Medical coverage is included, as well as discounts for vision, dental and hearing.

Humana Gold Choice PFFS — Prescription drug coverage is included with this plan. You can see in-network or out-of-network doctors, as long as they accept your coverage. Extra discounts are also included for vision, hearing and dental.

Humana Walmart Rx Plan PDP — This is a specific supplemental plan through Humana just for prescription drugs.

Humana Preferred Rx Plan PDP — Prescription drug coverage is available through this plan.

Humana Enhanced PDP — Prescription drug coverage is available with this plan.

There are also a few Humana supplemental plans available. . Specifically, these are designed if you don’t want to go with Medicare Advantage coverage and would like a Medigap plan instead. Medigap plans with Humana work alongside Original Medicare coverage.

Some of the best benefits provided by Humana are just those offered by the company’s infrastructure. Since it’s a big company, Humana has developed an incredible website and dashboard to help its customers, even those in Medicare. They enable customers to take advantage of all their services and get help with their premium payments.

These plans have a specific enrollment period (SEP) and are subject to change each year. Humana’s customers noted that the company’s online interface makes it easy to stay updated about your policy. You can sign in to view your policy, pay your premium and look at your recent medical visits, as well. You can also browse Humana’s network doctors and facilities online.

Since Humana has partnered with Walmart, most prescriptions are cheaper when filled through Walmart pharmacies. But there may be more plans and options available, as these are just averages for different Humana plans. If you want to see how Medicare rates these plans, you can view them on Medicare.gov.

Overall thoughts on Humana Medicare options offered for 2015

Humana is one of the better options for Medicare Advantage plans. You get to pick between HMO, PPO, PDP or PFFS. Humana’s site is also very organized. You can view all of the Medicare plans and specific information about Humana Medicare at Humana.com/Medicare.

For those who need more options than Original Medicare, Humana offers great options for Medicare Advantage. Many of these plans include more options for prescription drugs. As an insurance company, Humana has received a variety of awards.

Humana has made Medicare plans available for all devices. So, you can easily search Humana plans or on your mobile phone. This is because. You can also sign up for Humana plans through Medicare.gov or compare plans on MedicarePartC.com. You can see ratings for the plans on Medicare.gov, as well.

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Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Plans

Kaiser Permanente is well known as a health insurance company because of its managed care organization policies. Customers receive medical care directly from Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Medical Centers. Kaiser has a long history of providing healthcare in America. Started in 1945 by Henry Kaiser, the company offers a variety of medical insurance plans. With headquarters in Oakland, California, you can find Kaiser Medicare insurance plans in nine states. These include Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, California, Virginia, Washington, Ohio and the District of Columbia.

One reason people know Kaiser so well is because of its large network. Kaiser Permanente is actually the largest managed care organization in America. Kaiser members hold over 8 million health policies, and it has a yearly revenue of over $47 billion. The company has 167,000 employees, 37 medical centers and 611 medical offices. And, there are over 14,000 physicians available in the Kaiser managed care network.

Overall, Kaiser has received praising reviews from customers and received an “A+” rating from insurance raters, like Standard & Poor’s. The company has received a high customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Power and Associates, as well. So what’s available through Kaiser Permanente for Medicare?

Kaiser has several Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan options. You may be looking to keep Original Medicare and want supplemental plans. Or, you may want to switch entirely to a Medicare Advantage plan. Regardless, there are different plans for different types of medical needs or prescription drug coverage through Kaiser.

Many of these plans also have extra benefits that you don’t get with Original Medicare. You may be thinking of switching to a Medicare Advantage plan with Kaiser and you live in one of their covered states. If so, take a look at the plans and compare some of the pros and cons of each. This can help you make an informed decision on what coverage is best.

Overview of Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare Program

Kaiser offers plans that are approved and sponsored by America’s Medicare program. This means that Medicare pays for most of the plan’s cost. So, you can enjoy lower premiums and even get some extra benefits from Kaiser. Many of Kaiser’s plans receive a high rating from Medicare because of customer satisfaction and quality of care.

Through Kaiser, there are certain types of plans that you can receive, depending on the region where you are covered. Each plan is constructed specifically for the state in which you live. In certain states, there are multiple areas with different plans. This overview gives you some information on the types of plans available through Kaiser, though what’s available in your state may be different:

HMOs — Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are designed to save money by making sure that you receive medical care within Kaiser’s network. This means that you pick a primary, in-network care provider and go to facilities or hospitals that are also within the Kaiser network. When you go out of network, you take on all of the responsibility for paying your medical costs. Some Kaiser HMOs have prescription drug coverage included, while others are just for medical and hospital insurance.

PPOs — A preferred provider organization insurance plan allows for some more flexibility. You don’t have to stick to Kaiser’s network in order to get medical care. But Kaiser may pay a smaller portion of the claim if you go out of their network of preferred physicians and facilities for care.

Each plan is different, so it’s important to look at Kaiser PPO plans to see if your doctor is within or out of network. Most likely, if your doctor is out-of-network, you will want to choose a PPO. Or, you should pick an in-network doctor and go with HMO coverage.

PFFS or POS — In some states, you also have Private Fee-for-Service or Point-of-Service plans, which allow more flexibility. You can go to in-network or out-of-network doctors. And as long as those doctors and facilities accept Medicare and Kaiser, you can use your health insurance plan to pay for your medical costs.

You may be looking for more flexibility or just want to combine all of your coverage into one Medicare Part C plan. If so, Kaiser has a variety of benefits per plan to entice customers to sign up with their programs. If you are thinking of switching away from Original Medicare, look at the plans closely in each state.

Pros and cons of Kaiser Permanente Medicare

Pros:

  1. View all plans, prices, benefits and Medicare information online
  2. Find plans and prices online for your budget and service area
  3. High customer satisfaction rating
  4. Kaiser’s network combines doctor’s offices, labs and pharmacies in one

Cons:

  1. HMOs limit you to just Kaiser in-network doctors and officers
  2. Coverage is only available in certain states and the District of Columbia
  3. Some plans have a higher cost

The plans are broken down by state, in some cases. This can be confusing if you just want to view the plans by state. Kaiser still has a better online organization of their plans, compared to some of the larger health insurance companies’ online plan finders. You can apply for Kaiser Medicare Advantage plans online, as well.

By looking at the plans, you can also see how many benefits you receive for the price. While some plans cost different amounts in certain states, you’ll find that the benefits may also change. It’s important to look at the specific plan for your service area if considering Kaiser Medicare Part C plans.

Types of Kaiser Medicare Programs available

Kaiser breaks all plans and coverage down by area. There are several areas across nine states that have coverage with Kaiser Permanente Medicare plans. However, some plans are not as flexible as others. The plans below were selected from California, Maryland and Washington. You can view all of the plans and costs on Kaiser at https://medicare.kaiserpermanente.org.

Kaiser Medicare plans are nearly the same in all coverage areas. The only difference is the cost of the monthly premium. You can view all of Kaiser’s plans by region by going to https://medicare.kaiserpermanente.org, selecting “Explore” and then “Plans and Rates.” Coverage is only available in certain states and in certain areas of those states. For example, in California, you must pick the county you live in to determine eligibility.

Kaiser Medicare benefits and costs

All Kaiser Permanente Medicare plans’ costs are listed in easy-to-read chart on Kaiser’s website. In addition, remember that every Medicare Advantage plan requires the participant to pay the cost of the Medicare Part B plan, as well.

The Part B plan monthly cost is calculated based on the person’s yearly income. Once you select your area and plan, you can view costs for each service including copays for doctor’s visits, inpatient hospitalization and outpatient surgery

Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage (HMO) Individual — In a Kaiser HMO, you must pick a primary care doctor within Kaiser’s network.

Costs are typically lower if you use a Kaiser pharmacy; they are higher if you use a mail order prescription company to fill the prescription. You cannot use outside pharmacies with this plan.

Kaiser Senior Advantage Enhanced (HMO) — In some states, Kaiser breaks coverage down into groups, including basic and enhanced. With the enhanced option, your doctor visits, inpatient hospitalization, outpatient surgery and other services are cheaper. In addition, prescription drugs in enhanced plans are lower.

Kaiser Senior Advantage Plus Choice (HMO-POS) — This plan is a little bit like the other HMO plans under Senior Advantage and is not available in all states. If you are eligible for a HMO-POS, in certain cases, you can see an out-of-network doctor. Or, you can go to an out-of-network hospital as long as they accept your HMO-POS plan. If you have the HMO-POS option for your state, you should be careful of the higher premiums with this plan.

Only in certain cases are you allowed to go outside of the Kaiser Advantage network.

Advantage Plus — You can add on to your coverage in many areas to include fitness programs, dental coverage, vision coverage and hearing coverage. If your area is offering Advantage plus, it will be located on one of the website’s different tabs for the plan at the top. Advantage Plus requires an additional cost to the Kaiser Medicare Advantage plan

Standalone Medicare Part D — Part D coverage is not available in all areas. But Kaiser does a great job of providing different PDP or prescription drug plans throughout its coverage areas. This would only cover your Part D prescription drug costs. You will have to continue using Original Medicare to keep your Part D coverage through Kaiser.

Overall thoughts on Kaiser Medicare options offered for 2015

Kaiser has some of the highest ratings for United States Medicare Advantage plans. Even though you must work within Kaiser’s network, the quality of care is considerably higher, according to customer surveys. However, Kaiser is not available in all states. The coverage areas also vary by state. Medicare has rated many of Kaiser’s plans with a 4 and above. Kaiser makes it easy to find 5-star plans with their plan finder. These plans were rated highly because of customer satisfaction and high quality care.

If you want to compare more plans for Kaiser, you can view different plans available through MedicarePartC.com, as well.

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MVP Health Care

MVP Health Insurance Company started offering insurance in 1986. While it’s one of the newer insurance companies on the market, MVP has consistently delivered discounts to its members. And, the company has maintained a high customer satisfaction rating. Although MVP is only available in parts of New York, New Hampshire and Vermont, it still has over 750,000 customers. Customers praise MVP for creating plans that are budget-friendly. But the company also includes a variety of services, like preventive care, screenings, fitness, wellness, dental and inpatient hospital care.

A variety of health insurance plans are available through MVP. As a major health insurance provider, their insurance covers groups, businesses and individuals. Almost 26,000 of MVP’s customers are businesses located in the tri-state area. With personal and business choices, MVP also created multiple Medicare plans. This makes it easier for qualifying individuals to combine all of their services and coverage into one plan.

Most plans provided by MVP are similar to what you would find with other major health insurance companies. However, MVP did create an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan and provides insurance for families and individuals. Discounts are offered for healthy family members. The company also rewards those who complete certain programs, like a stop smoking program. There are also lifestyle coaches and fitness programs.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance awarded MVP with an “Excellent” accreditation for HMO and POS plans.

Do you live in Vermont, New York or New Hampshire and want to get an MVP Medicare plan? If so, you should compare each plan and learn about their benefits. This can help you save money as you look at options with Medicare Advantage.

Overview of MVP Health Care Medicare program

MVP is only available in certain parts of the Northeast, including New York, Vermont and some areas of New Hampshire. MVP has stated that by keeping their coverage limited, they are able to offer better plans to residents and neighbors. The plans offered by MVP provide a number of different services.

The company has a rather low amount of complaints. Most of the complaints are for issues where coverage was not accepted or an account was charged without authorization. But overall, MVP has less than 10 complaints.

Coverage provided allows you to get all of the benefits of Part A and Part B in one plan. MVP does a great job of separating each plan. It provides “Benefits at a Glance” that are easy to understand. You can look through all of the MVP Medicare programs online. You can also sign up for plans as long as you are in the open enrollment period (OEP).

Pros and cons of MVP Medicare programs

When you compare different MVP programs, the benefits and costs are easy to compare. They each have a set price for a monthly premium and clear-cut copays and medical costs. One of the major drawbacks is that this health insurance carrier is only available in certain parts of the Northeast. In addition, only specific counties may be eligible for coverage in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Pros:

  1. Large number of different Medicare Advantage options
  2. Prescription drug costs are lower

Cons:

  1. Smaller staff and general resources, compared to larger, more established companies
  2. Some plans are too expensive
  3. Plans aren’t available in all states

MVP has expanded in the past few years to give more options to different counties in New York. In addition, some complaints from consumers noted that HMO-POS plans are the most expensive because of MVP’s small network.

Types of MVP Health Care programs available

The plans available for MVP are tailored for older individuals who may need specialty drugs. But these plans also have benefits for those who are suffering with long-term illnesses and disabilities. If you qualify for Medicare or already have Original Medicare, the following plans may work for you:

GoldValue with Part D (HMO-POS) — Includes prescription drug coverage

Preferred Gold With or Without Part D (HMO-POS) — Prescription drug coverage is optional

GoldAnywhere with Part D (PPO) — Comes with prescription drug coverage

GoldAnywhere with Part D Option 2 (PPO) — Comes with prescription drug coverage

BasiCare with Part D (PPO) — Comes with prescription drug coverage

One of the best parts of these programs is that they all can include prescription drug coverage. The exception is BasiCare, which is the newest plan from MVP. This plan is made specifically for those with smaller budgets. It has a lower cost overall, while still including discounts for prescription drugs. These plans also have different costs for primary care and inpatient hospital stays. This makes them cheaper than almost all other major Medicare Advantage plans reviewed before.

MVP Health Care benefits and costs

MVP Medicare Advantage plans are different, depending on the area in which you live. In some cases, MVP is only available if an employer offered it. If you are eligible, you can sign up for any one of the following programs. Each of these includes Part A and Part B premium services, as well as some additional costs and services.

GoldValue with Part D (HMO-POS) — The HMO-POS is a typical HMO, with some options to provide flexibility. If you want a plan that allows you to get some coverage for out-of-network doctors, this is the right HMO. You receive discounts on hearing and vision exams. Some other benefits included with this plan are: skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, lab tests, CT scans, X-rays, inpatient mental health care, outpatient hospital, emergency room care and ambulance transportation.

Preferred Gold with or Without Part D (HMO-POS) — The HMO-POS offers an HMO with flexibility to see out-of-network doctors and hospitals. However, you have to get approval to see out-of-network doctors Doctor’s visits are cheaper with this plan. The costs for inpatient hospitalization are much lower, as well. The plan also includes discounts for X-rays, CT scans, lab work, skilled nursing facilities, medical equipment and emergency room care.

Ultimately, this plan is great for those who don’t need any prescription drugs. Enrollees who want to cover all of their bases, as well as a few extras, will benefit from this plan.

GoldAnywhere with Part D Option 1 (PPO) — You may like the idea of being able to go to any medical provider or hospital, without worrying about out-of-pocket costs. If so, you may want the GoldAnywhere with Part D through MVP. This plan includes extensive prescription drug coverage. The costs for other services are also lower overall.

GoldAnywhere with Part D Option 2 (PPO) — You may prefer the idea of being able to go to any doctor, but don’t like the costs per month for the Option 1 plan. If so, you can choose the Option 2 plan with GoldAnywhere. This plan may be a good choice if you know that you won’t be going to the hospital as much, but still need prescriptions. It may help you save a lot of money in the future, as well.

Out-of-network costs are also much higher with this plan. While it may be nice to have this option, MVP doesn’t really give you much choice. You will likely avoid using the out-of-network options to be able to pay your medical bills and premiums each month.

BasiCare with Part D (PPO) — Added for the 2014 open enrollment season, this is MVP’s newest plan. It’s the lowest-cost plan from MVP so far for Medicare Advantage. There are some conditions that make it a little bit difficult for anyone with a small budget to receive care. This plan has the highest amount for a copay for primary care visits. Some plans have an obvious benefit over others. Some plans through MVP appear to have a lower cost at first. But the charges on copays and drugs drive the price too high for it to be manageable in most cases.

Overall thoughts on MVP Medicare options offered for 2015

It seems as though the Preferred Gold with Part D is one of the better MVP Medicare plans for any individual wanting Medicare Advantage.

Overall, MVP receives very high quality ratings from Medicare.gov. For most of their plans, they receive 4.5 out of 5 stars. This makes them some of the highest plans available in America. Medicare rates plans based on long-term care, education, customer surveys, customer satisfaction and response time.

Do you have questions about any of the plans that you’ve seen here? Or, do you want to learn more about Medicare Advantage? MedicarePartC.com provides a variety of videos and guides to help you make a better-informed choice.

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UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans

UnitedHealthcare offers all types of health insurance. As a top Fortune 500 company, UnitedHealthcare is financially strong. But it is also one of the most recognized U.S. health insurance carriers. Its provider network has over 700,000 doctors and facilities. Coverage is available in 40 states and the District Columbia. Health, dental and health savings plans are some of the most common products. And, they have different plans for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

Standard & Poor’s rating service gave UnitedHealthcare an “A+.” The company received an “A” rating from A.M. Best, as well. And, customer satisfaction rates have gone up for the company, after it struggled to maintain a 70 percent satisfaction rating in 2009. With such a large network and a variety of plans, UnitedHealthcare is among the best choices for Medicare Advantage plans.

One reason that UnitedHealthcare has risen in popularity for Medicare is the amount of information available about their policies and benefits. The company offers a spectacular look into Medicare. It breaks down all types of plans available in easy-to-read formats. There are also plan finders, provider searches and pharmacy locations listed right on the website.

Most of UnitedHealthcare’s plans are under the AARP brand. This resonates with many Medicare-eligible recipients who are 65 and older. However, UnitedHealthcare also provides educational materials for those who are younger than 65, but can still receive Medicare.

Overview of UnitedHealthcare Medicare program

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans offer the same benefits that you receive with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Additional benefits are typically included to make these plans more attractive to Medicare recipients. This also allows enrollees to take care of some of the gaps that Original Medicare won’t cover.

Most of UnitedHealthcare’s plan cover doctor visits, outpatient and inpatient care, shots, lab tests, dental, vision and hearing exams. Preventive care is also included with all of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Part C plans.

Most plans will be under AARP, but there are a number of different plans sold directly from UnitedHealthcare. These are a few different plans you can expect to find in your area.

Pros and cons of UnitedHealthcare Medicare

UnitedHealthcare does an amazing job at providing information to customers. It has built a rather impressive online account manager. This allows you to create an account, add coverage and manage your policy right from your own computer. This is really beneficial for those who want to get updates directly online or make payments. It’s also beneficial for comparing different plans and looking at the costs.

Pros:

  1. Fast claims processing (typically less than 10 days)
  2. Specialized care
  3. Easy-to-use online portal

Cons:

  1. Customers still have customer service complaints
  2. Coverage isn’t available in all 50 states

The best part about purchasing a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part C plan is that you can easily find many plans to choose from. You don’t have to provide a lot of personal information to find all of the plans available for your area. You simply type in a ZIP code on the website in the ZIP code submit area. Then, you will receive at least five different Medicare Advantage plans to compare and select.

All of the plans have different benefits and costs. But you can see each one in greater detail with just a click of a button. Generally, other companies make it impossible to look at all of their plans’ benefits. However, UnitedHealthcare really tries to list all of the benefits and costs for you at one time. This makes it easier to pick a plan that will continuously work for your medical needs.

Types of UnitedHealthcare Medicare programs available

Most of UnitedHealthcare’s plans are under AARP. All of the plans can be found through their plan finder. The company has coverage in 40 states, so your state might not be available. And, coverage may not be as robust in rural areas, even if your state does have coverage.

The following plans are just a few of the examples that you’ll find in certain states, like Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Maryland.
Some of the plans to look for include:

UnitedHealthcare also offers Medicare supplement insurance plans, prescription drug plans and special needs plans e. Supplemental plans can work with Original Medicare. Some of the stand-alone prescription drug plans include:

When you compare these plans, it’s best to look at the details of those that interest you and can fit into your budget. Most plans have an option to remove prescription drug coverage if you don’t want to pay the extra monthly premium or have a deductible. All of the plans include hospital and medical insurance that’s equivalent to Original Medicare.

UnitedHealthcare benefits and costs

Medicare Advantage plans available through UnitedHealthcare are typically low-cost. But they still include some extras, like vision and dental exams. In addition, UnitedHealthcare has the largest network and the most coverage across the United States, even though they only have plans in 40 states for Medicare Part C. The following plans are broken down by cost and benefits.

AARP MedicareComplete (HMO) — With this HMO, you have a primary care doctor. And, you can visit only in-network providers and specialists.

AARP MedicareComplete Choice Essential (Regional PPO) — With this plan, you don’t have any drug coverage. However, you are allowed to go out-of-network doctors, facilities and pharmacies.

AARP MedicareComplete Choice Plan 2 (Regional PPO) — You may be looking for PPO coverage and want prescription drugs. If so this is the best plan that UnitedHealthcare offers.

AARP MedicareComplete Plus (HMO-POS) — This plan is designed to give you some more flexibility. It includes prescription drug coverage.

Stand-alone PDP
UnitedHealthcare provides coverage for those who just want prescription drug plans.

Overall thoughts on UnitedHealthcare Medicare options offered for 2015

UnitedHealthcare has some of the most affordable plans as far as monthly premiums. Medicare.gov rates UnitedHealthcare plans between 3 and 5 stars, with some of the highest-rated plans being in Florida and Illinois. You can view plans in your area and see their rating by going to Medicare.gov.

Overall, the different UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans available offer a wide range of flexibility in pricing and medical providers. You can choose to stay within UnitedHealthcare’s network and save money. Or, you can go outside of the network and still have some coverage. UnitedHealthcare also makes sure to offer some discounts on vision, dental and hearing exams for Medicare recipients.

As one of the larger health carriers, it makes sense that UnitedHealthcare would have multiple types of Medicare Advantage plans and stand-alone drug coverage. Are you are thinking of switching to a UnitedHealthcare plan? If so, you may also want to look into AARP’s website, as many of the same plans are offered through UnitedHealthcare.

Gundersen Health Plan

Gundersen Health Plan is a subsidiary of the Gundersen Health System. Started early in 1995, the company has continuously performed well. At first, Gundersen was established to provide healthcare to its own employees. But it grew to provide new benefits and help to other areas of businesses.

Located in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Gundersen Health Plan is available in parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since the company has a nonprofit status, it is able to keep premiums low. And, it can provide the best care with medical directors who are also practicing physicians.

Customer satisfaction rates are very high for Gundersen. They have different low-budget plans available. And, their network is quite extensive, with some of the top medical providers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. A number of plans are available through Gundersen, like customized HMOs, POS, self-funded plans and Senior Preferred (Medicare Advantage) plans.

There are also a few different Medicare Supplemental Plans. Gundersen Medicare Advantage plans are available for anyone who is: aged 65 or older, under 65 with disabilities or any age with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that requires dialysis. You can apply for Medicare Advantage plans directly through Gundersen. By purchasing Medicare Advantage, you can cover some of the gaps created by Original Medicare. Gundersen provides four different Medicare Advantage plans. This makes it easy to get coverage for everything that you need and not pay a ton of money out of pocket.

Overview of Gundersen’s Medicare program

Most people know Gundersen through their individual and family plans. But Gundersen is actually a great company for Medicare Advantage. Their plans are well developed, with four different plan options to help anyone looking for health insurance. All plans have medical coverage, emergency coverage worldwide and fixed premiums. Some also include Part D coverage.

With these health plans, you don’t have to stick to Medicare-only networks. You can also use out-of-network hospitals, depending on the plan that you pick. Gundersen also provides seminars for those who are thinking of switching to one of their Medicare Advantage plans.

The site does a great job of explaining all the different aspects of Medicare. And, it gives you some insight into the different Gundersen plans. You can read through frequently asked questions (FAQs) or just start the enrollment process online. Understanding the different types of plans can give residents from covered states a better choice for coverage. In many cases, the prices are tailored toward specific budgets. Below, you’ll find some of the different types of Gundersen plans. This gives you a better idea of what you want for the basics of your healthcare plan.

HMOs — With the Gundersen HMO Medicare Advantage plan, you have several options for coverage. However, you’ll have to pick a primary care doctor and go to in-network hospitals. If you decide to go out of network, you will likely pay out of pocket for all of the costs. You may get a referral to see a specialist. HMOs are different from HMO-POS plans, which allow you to see out-of-network doctors, as long as the care is approved.

PPOs — Gundersen also has preferred provider organizations that allow you to see doctors and hospitals, whether in-network or out-network. Out-of-network costs are higher, but Gundersen still pays for some. These plans are typically better for those who want the choice of keeping their doctor or seeing a doctor without a referral.

HMO-POS — In many cases, health insurance companies are relaxing the restrictions on HMOs to make them a little bit more convenient. They are allowing recipients to go to out-of-network doctors for a smaller fee, as long as the care is warranted. These plans are typically more expensive.

PFFS — Another type of plan that you find with Gundersen is the Private Fee-for-Service plan. This offers more flexibility than other plans. While typically more expensive, you can visit any doctor and hospital. They just need to accept your Medicare-approved Gundersen plan. In addition, Gundersen’s online dashboard helps to make the process to sign up and pay your bill much easier. You can pay using an automatic debit to your bank account. Or, you can set up an automatic withholding from your Social Security account.

Gundersen pros and cons

You should compare the different plans of Gundersen side-by-side. Once you do, you’ll notice the price jumps between those with and without prescription drug coverage.

Pros:

  1. 5-Star rated plans for the past three years
  2. Low copays for most plans

Cons:

  1. Hospital copays are high
  2. Wisconsin and Iowa have lower payments than Minnesota
  3. Limited selection in certain areas

In addition, Gundersen provides for vision, emergency care worldwide and preventive exams. But it does not have any dental or hearing aid coverage. You can add this coverage in certain parts of Wisconsin, but you cannot see this coverage online.

Types of Gundersen Medicare programs available

Gundersen Medicare Advantage programs are fully explained and viewable online. The company offers many informative tips and guides to make sure that you get all of your questions answered. Coverage is limited to just three states. But you can still get coverage at out-of-network facilities and doctors, though at a higher cost.

Some of these plans are more limiting than others. And, you won’t be able to see your same physician as you had before. If you really want to stick with your doctor, you may have to get another type of plan, such as a PPO, POS or PFFS.

These are the current available Medicare plans from Gundersen:

Not all of these plans may be available in every state offering coverage by Gundersen. The company has some restrictions on what plans it can show for certain states. There may also be higher rates for certain plans in Minnesota.

Gunderson benefits and costs

To compare all of plan benefits and costs, Gundersen provides an easy-to-read chart. The company also breaks down each plan’s costs. You can see what you will pay for such services as: doctor’s visits, inpatient hospital care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, exams and X-rays.

You’ll find that Gundersen has structured some of their insurance policies with lower payments in mind. You may be worried about out-of-pocket costs. If so, you should consider what plan would be best if you were to visit the hospital frequently.

Senior Preferred Elite D Plan — Gundersen created the Elite D plan for those who wanted a low premium, with prescription drug coverage. These plans combine Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D coverage. Many of the costs with this plan are lower. One great thing about this plan is that it includes worldwide emergency coverage. Other extras include vision exams, preventive services and exams.

Senior Preferred Elite Plan — This is the basic form of the Elite D Plan, which does not include prescription drug coverage. These plans combine Original Medicare (hospital and medical insurance) with some extra services provided by Gundersen. Worldwide emergency coverage is available with this plan, as well.

Senior Preferred Value D Plan — This is one of the lowest-cost plans that includes prescription drug coverage.   A basic Medicare Advantage plan, it doesn’t have some of the same cheap services as the other Gundersen plans. Most preventive services are covered in full with this plan. Senior Preferred Value Plan — For a basic, no-thrills Medicare Part C plan from Gundersen, many choose the Preferred Value plan. Much of the costs are the same as the Value D plan. But you don’t have access to prescription drug coverage with this type of insurance. Almost all of the preventive care services and exams are included with this plan, too. If you don’t require any prescription drug coverage, this is the best plan for the price with Gundersen. You still have access to extra services, as well.

Overall thoughts on Gundersen Medicare options offered for 2015

Much of Gundersen’s plans focus on providing care to aging seniors and Medicare recipients on disability. Since the plans are 5-star rated, they are quite popular. They provide basic coverage with just a few extras. The costs for each plan aren’t that high, if you consider that the copayments and coinsurance costs are relatively low.

For plans with prescription drug coverage, Gundersen provides an excellent incentive to get prescription drugs for a cheaper cost. However, there is also a lack of variety with these plans. These are all HMO plans and are not designed for much flexibility. In addition, some of the plans are confusing. And, many of their benefits are not provided for on the website. This would make it easier to compare the costs of prescription drug plans.

Gundersen is a leading Medicare Advantage plan provider, with a lot of good services for the price. However, they should bring down the monthly premiums a little bit more.

Have Medicare Questions? 1-800-257-8519 TTY 711

MVP Health Care Medicare Part C Review

MVP Health Insurance Company started offering insurance in 1986. While it’s one of the newer insurance companies on the market, MVP has consistently delivered discounts to its members and maintained a high customer satisfaction rating. MVP is only available in parts of New York, New Hampshire and Vermont. But it still has over 750,000 customers.

Customers praise MVP for creating plans that are budget-friendly. But the company also includes a variety of service, like preventive care, screenings, fitness, wellness, dental and inpatient hospital care. A variety of plans are available through MVP. As a major health insurance provider, their insurance covers groups, businesses and individuals. Almost 26,000 of MVP’s customers are businesses located in the tri-state area. With personal and business choices, MVP also created multiple Medicare plans. This makes it easier for qualifying individuals to combine all of their services and coverage into one plan.

Most plans provided by MVP are typical to what you find with other major health insurance companies. However, MVP did create an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan and provides insurance for families and individuals. Discounts are offered for healthy family members. And, they provide rewards for those who complete certain programs, like a stop smoking program. There are also lifestyle coaches and fitness programs.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance awarded MVP with an “Excellent” accreditation for HMO and POS plans. If you want to get an MVP Medicare plan compare each plan and learn about their benefits. This can help you save money as you look at Medicare Advantage options.

Overview of MVP Health Care Medicare program

MVP is only available in certain parts of the Northeast, including New York, Vermont and some areas of New Hampshire. MVP has stated that by keeping their coverage limited, they can offer better plans to residents and neighbors. These plans provide a number of different services for a lower monthly premium.

The company has a rather low amount of complaints. Most are for issues where coverage was not accepted or an account was charged without authorization. But overall, MVP has less than 10 complaints. Coverage provided allows you to get all of the benefits of Part A and Part B in one plan. MVP does a great job of separating each plan. They provide “Benefits at a Glance” that are easy to understand. You can look through all of the MVP Medicare programs online. You can also sign up for plans, as long as you are in the open enrollment period.

Pros and cons of MVP Medicare programs

When you compare different MVP programs, the benefits and costs are apparent. They each have a set price for a monthly premium and clear-cut copays and medical costs. One of the major drawbacks is that MVOP is only available in certain parts of the Northeast. In addition, only specific counties may be eligible for coverage.

Pros:

  1. Lots of different Medicare Advantage options
  2. Some plans have low monthly premiums –
  3. Prescription drug costs are lower

Cons:

  1. Smaller staff
  2. Some plans are too expensive
  3. Plans aren’t available in all states

Despite not being available in all states, MVP has expanded its plans over the past few years. In addition, some complaints from consumers noted that HMO-POS plans are the most expensive because of MVP’s small network.

Types of MVP Health Care programs available

The plans available for MVP are structured for older individuals who may need specialty drugs. But these plans also have benefits for those who are suffering with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

If you qualify for Medicare or already have Original Medicare, the following plans may work for you:

GoldAnywhere with Part D Option 1 (PPO) — You may like the idea of being able to go to any medical provider or hospital without worrying about out-of-pocket costs. If so, you may want the GoldAnywhere with Part D through MVP. The one difference with this plan involves inpatient hospital stays and worldwide emergency hospitalization.

GoldAnywhere with Part D Option 2 (PPO) — If you like the idea of being able to go to any doctor but don’t like the costs per month for the other plan, you can also choose the Option 2 plan with GoldAnywhere. This plan costs $64 per month with a little bit higher prescription drug costs. For instance, it’s $10 for Tier 1 or generic drugs through the second option for GoldAnywhere. In addition, it’s higher cost for copays and other costs like inpatient hospital care, which is $750 per visit up to 3 times per year and then $0 after. If you know that you won’t be going to the hospital as much but still need prescriptions, the GoldAnywhere Option 2 plan may help you save a lot of money in the future. Costs are also much higher if you go out-of-network on this plan. While it may be nice to have this option, MVP doesn’t really give you much choice with such high costs. You will likely avoid using the out-of-network options to be able to pay your medical bills and premiums each month.

BasiCare with Part D (PPO)

Added for the 2014 open enrollment season, this is MVP’s newest plan. It’s the lowest-cost plan from MVP so far for Medicare Advantage. There are some conditions that make it a little bit difficult for anyone with a small budget to receive care. This plan has the highest amount for a copay for primary care visits. Some plans have an obvious benefit over others. Some plans through MVP appear to have a lower cost at first. But the charges on  copays and drugs drive the price too high for it to be manageable in most cases.

Overall review of MVP Medicare

It seems as though the Preferred Gold with Part D is one of the better MVP Medicare plans for any individual wanting Medicare Advantage . If you  don’t need prescription drug coverage, the cost is even cheaper per month. And, you won’t have to pay a very high copay to see a doctor when you need to.

Overall, MVP receives very high quality ratings from Medicare.gov. For most of their plans, they receive 4.5 out of 5 stars. This makes them some of the highest plans available in America. Medicare rates plans based on long-term care, education, customer surveys, customer satisfaction and response time. If you have questions about any of the plans that you’ve seen here or want to learn more about Medicare Advantage, MedicarePartC.com provides a variety of videos and guides to help you make a better informed choice.
You may also want to explore this website, HealthNetwork.com. You’ll be able to explore a variety of Medicare Advantage plans in your area.


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