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The Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Where Can You Find the Best Medicare Advantage Plans?

As your 65th birthday approaches, it's time to start sorting through your options with respect to Medicare health coverage. Those options include several add-on components, one of which is Medicare Advantage.

What are Medicare Advantage Plans? Essentially, they allow you to take your Part A and B coverage and transfer their management to a private insurance company - often with insurers you may have already used in the past, like UnitedHealthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Although Advantage Plans come with some limitations - most require you to use in-network practitioners to maximize benefits, for example - they can be attractive for a number of reasons.

Sunday, October 17th

2021 Medicare Advantage Plan Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award SmartMatch Review 5 Star Rating

SmartMatch

5 Star Rating
  • Able to objectively quote plans from many different companies, including some of the biggest and best-known providers
  • Helpful representatives who won't push you towards any one plan or provider
  • Secure dashboard for viewing plan options and pricing
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

SmartMatch is one of the most powerful Medicare insurance quote platforms available today, and it just might become your favorite resource for getting a Medicare Advantage Plan - or any other Medicare insurance coverage you and your family need. It's a one-stop shop to get quotes from a range of insurance providers, including the best-known names like Aetna and Humana.

Start The Process

To find the right Medicare Advantage plan for you, just enter your name, date of birth, zip code, phone number and email address. From there, ou'll see a confirmation page, notifying you that you'll receive a call from one of their licensed agents. However, you probably won't be waiting long - we received a call within 30 seconds of submitting our information! Optionally, you can also use the toll-free number on that page to reach out immediately, if you don't want to wait for a SmartMatch licensed agent to get in touch.

Expert, Friendly Help

The licensed representative was extremely helpful, taking the time to ask in-depth questions about our situation, our needs, and our priorities with respect to premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and timeframes for enrollment. When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, it's essential to get expert guidance for the questions unique to your situation. She made sure to get the name of our primary care doctor and only quoted us Medicare Advantage Plans that had that physician in-network. The rep also asked about our medications, so that she could include them in the quote and give us accurate information about coverage and costs.

Secure Communications And Dashboard

We were impressed with the layers of security involved in sending us our Medicare Advantage Plan quotes. We were given a password-protected dashboard to see the available plans based on the demographic information we provided: a soon-to-be 65-year-old woman in good health, non-smoker, in Wisconsin. We also used Xarelto as a sample prescription, knowing that it's frequently-prescribed, and is one of the most expensive medications on the market.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Top Rated Plan

The top plan recommended for that individual happened to be the Humana Choice PPO. This plan was quoted with a $0 monthly premium, $0 medical deductible, and an annual maximum out of pocket cost of $4,200. Our estimated drug cost for the one medication we mentioned was $564. Of course, the best plan for you will vary according to your specific information - where you live, your health conditions, medications, and so forth.

Biggest Selection Of Medicare Advantage Plans

We liked that the SmartMatch dashboard gave us the option to shop all available plans for our demographic. Just look for the big yellow button on your main quote page. There were 24 total Medicare Advantage Plans to choose from - some with prescription drug plans, and some without. In the example we used, there were a variety of plans offered, including those from Anthem, UnitedHealthcare, and Aetna, in addition to the Humana policy we described previously. Plans ranged from PPOs to HMOs and could be sorted by total estimated annual cost, lowest monthly premiums, Medicare star rating, or simply A through Z.

Step-by-step Assistance Makes It Easy

When you find a plan that works for you, your SmartMatch licensed agent will take you through all or most of the steps required to get you covered. Be aware that procedures vary by insurer, so you might be connected to the company issuing the policy to finalize the contract - with the help of the agent who gave you the quote initially.

Impressive Reputation

SmartMatch has already built an impressive reputation in a competitive field. They are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and own an "A+" rating - the highest the BBB awards. At the time of our evaluation, there were zero complaints on file with the BBB - and more surprisingly, there were nearly 60 positive customer reviews with an average rating approaching a perfect 5 stars. Most people go to the BBB to complain and not to offer praise, so seeing that many positive comments was a remarkable feat - and a good indicator that SmartMatch is a reliable resource for many consumers. Similarly, we found more than 300 ratings for SmartMatch through third-party verification networks, where this service earned an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Customers made frequent mention of the knowledgeable and friendly insurance experts they worked with to get the right Medicare plans for their needs.

Best Resource For Buying Medicare Advantage Plans

Our experience with SmartMatch was smooth and reassuring. We loved talking to an expert who asked the right questions in order to find the best available plans for our needs. We were also relieved that there was no pressure to make a decision or to choose any one insurer in particular. We strongly recommend that you use SmartMatch to find your Medicare Advantage plan. They earn our highest rating.

Aetna Review 4 Star Rating

Aetna

4 Star Rating
  • Over 165 years in operation
  • "A+" rated by the BBB
  • Easy to use website
  • Competitive rates
  • Limited options in some areas

Not many providers of Medicare Advantage Plans can say that they've been in business for over 100 years. Aetna has been around for more than a century and a half! You'll often find their policies quoted by brokers and referral services, because their coverage area is very broad and their plans are quite popular.

Not Much Info On The Website

The Aetna site has a somewhat limited overview of Medicare Advantage Plans, compared with some of their rival insurance companies. You can learn more about HMOs, HMO-POS, PPOs and Dual Special Needs coverage if you click on each of those categories. You can also see some of Aetna's extra benefits, like access to a 24-hour nurse line and SilverSneakers fitness memberships. We expected to see much more robust information from such a big name in the Medicare industry.

Fewer Medicare Advantage Plans Than Some

We also found that Aetna had fewer Medicare Advantage Plans on offer than many of their competitors: just two plans with prescription drug coverage and one plan without. You might want to click on "Add your info" on the left side of the page, to enter any prescriptions for which you want pricing or to provide additional details about your age, health, and so on. The initial quotes page didn't have a tool to select our preferred physician, which means there was no way of knowing if that provider is in the Aetna network. We only found that functionality when we added a plan to our cart and needed to specify a primary care physician: there was a "find a doctor" button there that took us to a different site to look that up. We were pleased to see that the preferred doctor for our fictitious Wisconsin client was in network with several of Aetna's PPO Medicare Advantage Plans.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Competitive Premiums And Out-of-pocket Costs

With Aetna in our specified geographic area, our premiums were either $0 or $27 per month, and our maximum annual out of pocket costs were between $4600 and $5900. That puts Aetna among some of the more affordable Medicare Advantage Plans available, though with far fewer to choose from than many insurers. Out of curiosity, we chose a zip code in Central Florida, to see if our options expanded; there were no available Medicare Advantage policies without prescription drug coverage, and six options with it. The monthly premiums and maximum out of pocket costs were roughly the same as in Wisconsin.

Enroll Online 24/7

Aetna allows you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan directly through their website. It's a fairly detailed process, especially with looking up your preferred doctor and making sure to enter their provider ID correctly, so be sure to leave some time to complete the application and submit it. You can also call Aetna's toll-free number to get help from an agent, or select the "Chat with us" feature on the page if you have questions.

Good Reputation, "A+" Rating

Aetna has a fantastic reputation. The Better Business Bureau gives the company an "A+" rating, despite having more than 200 complaints registered in the last 12 months. Aetna is a very large company, so it stands to reason that they would have their fair share of complaints. Some of the negative reviews we found were specifically about Medicare products - not the policies or the coverage themselves but difficulties with changing from one type of coverage to another or getting adequate customer help - and you might need to keep an eye on your Advantage Plan's benefits to make sure everything is happening as expected.

Reliable Insurer For Medicare Advantage Plans

If you're shopping around for a Medicare Advantage Plan in your area and Aetna comes up as one of your options, we definitely encourage you to look into it. Their premiums are reasonable, and the company has a solid reputation with the BBB and with agents alike. Aetna is a trustworthy provider of Medicare Advantage policies.

Humana Review 4 Star Rating

Humana

4 Star Rating
  • Clear, informative website
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau
  • In business for over 60 years
  • Available in most states
  • Many benefits, including telemedicine, emergency transportation, and medical equipment

If you're shopping for a Medicare Advantage Plan, Humana is one of the names that you'll hear frequently. With coverage available in most locations and as a contracted partner with a wide variety of brokers and referral services, Humana will probably be on the list of companies to consider for your policy.

Informative, Helpful Website

We really like the Humana website as a resource for understanding everything about Medicare Advantage plans. Not sure what a PFFS plan is? Wondering if there's an Advantage plan that doesn't require in-network physicians? You can quickly get that information here. All of the coverage offered by Humana includes hospital stays and emergency transportation, telehealth visits, preventive care and specialist visits, lab work / x-rays / screenings / imaging, outpatient care and procedures, and medical supplies and equipment.

Streamlined Process For Online Quotes

When you enter your zip code, you'll be asked which type of Medicare plan you want: Advantage, Supplement, or Prescription Only? Click on Medicare Advantage and then on the purple Next button. From there, you can indicate if you only want to be shown HMO plans, PPO or Private-Fee-for-Service plans, or if you'd like to be shown all options for which you're qualified in your area. Then, you can either enter your current doctors' names to see if they're in-network, or you can opt to skip that step. Next, you have the option to import your prescriptions from the Medicare website (if you're already enrolled) or enter them manually (if you're new to Medicare) - or again, you can skip this step.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Extra Work To Find Some Details

Using our sample client, a female in Wisconsin who would be turning 65 in a few months, we were given three recommended HMO Medicare Advantage Plans and 11 additional plans to consider. The chart made it very simple to compare the differences among the recommended plans and see what benefits were included. We noticed that our sample medication, Xarelto, was included in all three of the recommended plans (at varying coverage levels), but we had to look through the non-recommended plans to find the ones that included our preferred physician. Monthly premiums ranged from $0 to $120. Unlike many of the insurers and services in our review, Humana didn't display the maximum out of pocket expenses on each policy, leaving prospective clients to click on each plan to find out. Be on the lookout for that before you make a final decision on a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Enroll Online Or With An Agent

We were really happy that customers can complete the entire enrollment process online with Humana, without having to speak with a representative. There's nothing wrong with getting help from a rep, but for those who prefer to do it all on their own or aren't often available during regular business hours, that's a big plus. If you find a plan you prefer and want to get signed up, be sure to have your Medicare number and eligibility dates handy, as well as any supporting documents with information on any other coverage you have (e.g. employer prescription drug coverage).

Slightly Mixed Reputation

Our only hesitation with recommending Humana is the company's reputation. On the one hand, the BBB gives them an "A+" rating and accreditation, which usually indicates that the business is doing a satisfactory job of handling customer issues. Humana's Medical Advantage Plans were also the most often-recommended for our fictitious client in Wisconsin, so clearly their coverage offers a good value for the price. However, we weren't thrilled to see hundreds of complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau, and we spoke with one broker who actually avoids putting clients on Humana plans because of his perspective on how Humana performs in the Medicare marketplace.

Good Options, But Compare Before You Buy

Generally speaking, you can expect to get good coverage and competitive rates when selecting a Medicare Advantage Plan offered by Humana - whether you get that policy through a broker/referral service or directly through the Humana website. You might want to compare policies from a few other big-name providers in your area, just to be sure that Humana is giving you the best coverage available.

SelectQuote Review 3.5 Star Rating

SelectQuote

3.5 Star Rating
  • 25 "A-" rated carriers and above
  • Company is "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Quotes only available over the phone
  • May take several steps to reach an agent
  • Representatives go the extra mile to find the policy that's right for each client
  • Agents keep in touch after the policy is in effect and help determine when a change to a different plan might be a good idea

SelectQuote prides itself on being an insurance referral partner you can trust. All of the Medicare Advantage Plans they offer come from insurers that have at least an "A-" rating, giving you only the best possible coverage. SelectQuote has been in operation for nearly 40 years, and the company enjoys an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.

Return Call Flagged As Spam

When we first entered our information for a sample client in Wisconsin, we were told that the service was closed for the day, but someone would call us on the next business day. However, our phone rang almost immediately - it came up as a suspected spam call, by the way - and it was a representative from SelectQuote. She gathered some basic information and passed us along to a representative licensed in our state.

Licensed Or Not?

However, when that rep went to look up quotes, he said it was showing he's not actually licensed in Wisconsin and had to transfer us to someone who was. (Does that make sense to you? We didn't think so either.) After waiting on hold for a few minutes, this rep said he'd have a WI-licensed representative get back to us, so that we didn't have to stay on the line. We didn't get a call back that day, though to be fair we made our call within 10 minutes of their posted end-of-business hours in the Central time zone.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Reaching An Agent Took 15 Minutes

We didn't get a call back the next day either. Reaching out through the toll-free number, the initial experience was roughly the same: get a generic SelectQuote representative who then transferred us to someone who identified herself as a Tiburon agent. Tiburon? She explained, where none of the other three people with whom we spoke did, that SelectQuote is now known as Tiburon: same company, same relationship with SelectQuote, new division name. Good to know! We told her about the experience we had previously; as it turned out, she wasn't licensed in Wisconsin either, but she stayed on the phone with us until we were connected to an agent who was. At that point, we had been on the phone for nearly 15 minutes.

Agent Went Above And Beyond

But, we're very glad we went the extra mile to get in contact with a SelectQuote/Tiburon agent, because he gave us the most information of any company we contacted. He quoted us the Humana PPO policy referenced by many referral services we used, but he dug further and found that there were two UnitedHealthcare plans that would also be a good option for our fictitious client in Wisconsin. He made sure to verify that "her" preferred doctor would be in-network, and he took the initiative of looking up what Xarelto (the one prescription we identified for comparison) was for. As it turns out, someone on that medication may qualify for a special type of Medicare Advantage Plan that is only for subscribers with chronic health conditions. No other agent mentioned those to us, even when we told them we were taking a medication for atrial fibrillation.

Great Customer Service After Subscribing Too

We also learned that, when you get your coverage through SelectQuote/Tiburon, you'll get follow-ups from your agent. This could be at different points during the year, just to see how you're doing with your coverage, as well as during critical enrollment times or when your premiums are anticipated to change in the future. This is the only referral service we're aware of that takes its role as your agent seriously by staying in touch even after the policy is signed, sealed and delivered.

Patience Is Rewarded

While we can't put SelectQuote, also known as Tiburon, as one of our highest-ranked sources of Medicare Advantage Plans - because of how many hoops we had to jump through, over multiple days, to actually get a licensed agent and a quote - there are still reasons to consider using this service. You'll probably get a very thorough analysis of your situation, resulting in a policy that is almost perfectly suited to your needs. Plus, you'll have the peace of mind knowing that your agent is still looking out for you well into the future. SelectQuote/Tiburon is worth making a phone call, if you're prepared to be persistent in getting connected with an agent at the outset.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Review 3.5 Star Rating

Blue Cross Blue Shield

3.5 Star Rating
  • Easy to find plans where you live
  • May be called by a different name in your state
  • Your plans will depend on where you live
  • Informative BCBS website

BCBS, or Blue Cross Blue Shield, is one of the largest insurance providers nationwide. From family health insurance to Medicare add-ons and more, millions of Americans have a BCBS card in their wallets.

Main Site Has Valuable Resources

When you visit the main BCBS page for Medicare Advantage, you'll find lots of information to help you understand the coverage: what costs you should anticipate, like premiums and deductibles; limits and considerations; how and when to enroll. This site is a good resource if you need an overview of Medicare Part C before you start shopping around for a plan.

BCBS Site Will Redirect To Local Affiliate

At the top of the page, you'll see a box to enter your zip code to find coverage in your area. This is where things get interesting, because you'll be redirected to the Blue Cross Blue Shield provider that services your area. For example, when we looked up our sample client, an almost-65-year-old woman in Wisconsin, we were redirected to the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield page. That site allowed us to enter (again) our zip code and county to view all Anthem BCBS plans in our area.

Might not get preferred physicians in network

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Our "client" had four plans to choose from, with monthly premiums ranging from $0 to $27 and out of pocket maximums from $4500 to $7550 for in-network costs. Unfortunately, the preferred doctor was not included in the Anthem BCBS network (but was available through policies offered by one of Anthem's rivals). We liked that the Anthem BCBS site clearly spelled out which benefits were included with each policy and which ones were optional (e.g. dental, vision, or a combination of the two).

Premiums Higher Than Average

We had a similar experience when we entered a zip code for Florida with a high population of people eligible for Medicare Advantage Plans. This took us to the site for Florida Blue, and we were able to either explore plans or use a tool to help us choose (though the latter returned results that weren't exclusively Medicare Advantage policies, but also Medigap and prescription drug coverage). Even exploring plans showed us everything Florida Blue had available, which included 7 Medicare Advantage Plans. The monthly premiums ranged from $0 to $146.80 (the most expensive of any insurer we found) and had maximum out of pocket costs from $2500 to $6700. Unlike the BCBS plans offered in Wisconsin through Anthem, all of Florida Blue's Medicare Advantage policies included dental, vision and hearing benefits.

Reputation Varies By State

Of course, that means that reputation varies as well: a BCBS affiliate in one state could have an excellent track record while another is absolutely terrible. For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida (Florida Blue) has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and has been in business for over 70 years, while Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Wisconsin only gets a "C+" from the BBB.

Get Quotes From Multiple Insurers

We give Blue Cross Blue Shield a good recommendation for having a helpful website, easy links to find their affiliates in your state, and because most affiliate sites make it simple to get and compare quotes for Medicare Advantage Plans. But, we are also keeping an eye on the fact that BCBS' premiums were some of the highest we've seen, and that results vary depending on where you live. It might be wise to use a broker or referral service that can give you quotes from multiple insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, to make sure that your coverage gives you the most for your money.

Cigna Review 3 Star Rating

Cigna

3 Star Rating
  • Easy-to-use website
  • Can get quotes just by entering zip code, no personal information required
  • "A+" from the Better Business Bureau
  • Plans not available in all areas

Cigna is one of the big names in the insurance marketplace, with decades of experience and millions of people covered by their healthcare policies. The company enjoys an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and you'll often find their Medicare Advantage Plans included in quotes offered by brokers or referral services. But, you can also go directly to the Cigna website to learn more about their coverage and see if it's worth considering for your Medicare needs.

Easily Browse Plans By Zip Code

We always appreciate being able to get quotes without having to provide personal information or speak with a representative, and Cigna definitely offers that. You can easily browse plans simply by entering your zip code. When your Medicare Advantage policy matches come up, you can see at a glance what your premiums and out-of-pocket costs would be and click on any coverage that might be a good match.

No Plans In Some Locations

Unfortunately, compared with some insurers, Cigna's coverage may be limited. For example, when we looked for a Medicare Advantage policy for our sample person (a woman in Wisconsin turning 65 in a few months), we found out that there were no plans in her area other than prescription drug coverage. That puts Cigna below many of the other services in our review.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

More Options Elsewhere

We switched our targeted location to Florida (under the assumption that there might be more seniors there, making it more likely that Cigna would have availability) and found that there were five available Medicare Advantage Plans. All of them came with prescription drug coverage; there were no policies with just Medicare Advantage without coverage for medications. Cigna had one PPO plan and four HMOs, with monthly premiums ranging from $0 to $18.90 and maximum in-network out-of-pocket costs from $3500 to $5650.

Easy Sign-up Process

Enrollment is simple. Once you've chosen the plan you want, fill in the requested information like your Medicare number and Part A/B start dates. While you may get a call from a Cigna representative to confirm the details of your policy, you can complete the majority of the enrollment process online.

Attractive Benefits With Cigna Plans

Cigna Medicare Advantage Plans also have some nice perks. Depending on the program you select, you may have access to 24/7 virtual care (telehealth), behavioral and emotional support, medication therapy management with guidance from a Cigna pharmacist, and health/wellness discounts on services like acupuncture and LASIK vision correction.

Good Plans When Available

Overall, Cigna is a reliable source of Medicare Advantage Plans. Their website makes it straightforward to find out what's available in your area and to comparison shop among the policies they offer. But, for some consumers, Cigna won't be an option due to limited coverage. You may need to work with a different insurer or use a referral service to find more Advantage policies in your area, if nothing comes up for your zip code when using the Cigna site.

GoHealth Review 2.5 Star Rating

GoHealth

2.5 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • One of the most used services for getting Medicare Advantage coverage
  • Almost 10,000 4- and 5-star reviews from satisfied customers
  • Must speak with a representative: no quotes online

Although GoHealth has only been a part of the Medicare marketplace since 2016, they've been part of the insurance industry since 2001. The company is well-established as a referral service specifically for Medicare Advantage Plans, with 10% of all subscribers nationwide having used GoHealth to sign up for their coverage.

Very Positive Customer Feedback

GoHealth has an incredibly positive reputation. Not only are they "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but they also have thousands of 5-star ratings from happy clients. This is definitely a reputable service for getting Medicare Advantage Plans.

Lots Of Information, No Quotes Online

When looking for information on Medicare Advantage Plans, you'll find a wealth of information on this service's site - so much so that it can be easy to overlook how to get an actual quote for a policy! You can either call the toll-free number at the top of the site, or you can provide your contact information and wait for an insurance agent to reach out. GoHealth offers no tools for comparing insurance providers or plans in your area through their website.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

No Quote Given: "call Back Later"

Unfortunately, even when we called, we weren't allowed to get a quote for Medicare Advantage unless we could confirm an effective date for the Part A and Part B coverage. That's in sharp contrast to many brokers and insurers, who were more than happy to let us know what kinds of plans were available in our area, what our premiums would be, and so forth. Even when we explained that we were 99% sure the coverage would be effective on the first date of the month that our fictitious client turned 65, we were repeatedly asked to call back when we were positive about that effective date. Given that we had heard really good things about GoHealth in terms of their additional Medicare options, this was a huge disappointment to not even be given the opportunity for a ballpark quote.

Zero Information Provided

That was also very surprising when you consider how early on it's recommended that people do the research and get their Medicare options lined up. The GoHealth representative we got didn't even ask what state we lived in, to give us a broad overview of what we'd need to do and when. We're not sure why they were unwilling (or unable) to start us out with even some basic facts about the insurers in our geographic area or how Medicare Advantage works, instead of just insisting we call back later when we had a confirmed effective date in hand.

Your Results May Vary

We don't want to overlook GoHealth completely, because the company does have a very strong reputation and the quote process might be much smoother for those who are already enrolled in Medicare. However, because we were able to easily get quotes from so many other referral services and insurance companies, GoHealth comes up very short in our rankings.

Health IQ Review 1.5 Star Rating

Health IQ

1.5 Star Rating
  • More than 1000+ plans from well-known national carriers like Anthem and Humana
  • Quotes available only by speaking with a representative
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB

Health IQ has only been around since 2013, and the company takes a novel approach to providing insurance: they believe that "health-conscious people deserve lower rates". Overall, their policies have lower premiums for people who are actively pursuing wellness, like yogis, vegans and runners. That might be a turn-off for those who aren't in the best shape, or who have medical conditions that prevent them from hitting the gym on a regular basis, but the cost savings can be significant if you fit their target profile.

Call For A Quote To Avoid Spam

To get started, enter your zip code and click on the "get my free quote" button. You'll be taken to a pop-up window asking for your name, email address and phone number: just be aware that the disclaimer at the bottom says you are consenting to being contacted by insurance agents if you provide this information. You'll have to call their toll-free number if you want to buy a policy without agreeing to those terms.

Transferred Several Times

And, don't think you can do an end run by putting in a fake phone number: the next pop-up will direct you to pick up the phone when an agent calls you. In other words, there's no way to get a quote on Medicare Advantage Plans through Health IQ without talking to a representative. When you make the call, you'll get a Health IQ rep who will take your initial information and then connect you with a licensed rep in your area. When we did this, we were bounced around to several people before getting someone who could quote a Medicare Advantage policy.

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No Helpful Information From Company Reps

Theoretically speaking, that is. The representative we finally got was very curt, talked fast, and seemed in a hurry to get off the phone. He quickly rattled off that it would be a $0 premium policy and a bunch of other benefits. We had to ask which insurer it would be through and we were told "they're all the same". We weren't offered policies to choose from, different types of coverage, nothing. Compared with other brokers and referral services, Health IQ came up extremely short. This representative basically told us to call back when we had a Medicare number to provide. We're not even sure if their "health-conscious" approach is applied during the Medicare Advantage policy-writing process: we weren't asked any questions at all, let alone about our health or habits.

Good Reputation - Not Medicare-specific

Despite being newer to the insurance marketplace, Health IQ has established a good reputation for itself with the Better Business Bureau, enjoying both an "A+" rating and accreditation there. We spotted a few complaints from consumers regarding unwanted, frequent phone calls and other contact, but that seems to be par for the course with many insurance policy referral services. Over nearly 500 customer reviews provided on third-party sites, Health IQ had a solid 4.7 out of 5-star average, but most of them were for life insurance policies and not anything related to additional Medicare plans.

Use Health IQ For Life Insurance, Not Medicare

This was one of the worst experiences we had when trying to get a quote for Medicare Advantage Plans. They clearly are not Health IQ's bread-and-butter insurance product, and our experience with multiple customer representatives demonstrated that. This may be a great option for life insurance, but you'll definitely want to use a different referral platform or insurer if you want helpful, friendly customer service while looking for Medicare Advantage coverage.

HealthCare Review 1 Star Rating

HealthCare

1 Star Rating
  • Can see many companies offering different types of Medicare plans
  • Can get some information without entering personal information beyond zip code

Before you use the HealthCare site to shop for Medicare Advantage Plans, you should be aware that it is NOT the federal website for Medicare. Instead, this site is a privately-owned for-profit service that gets paid to refer you to companies that offer various types of additional Medicare coverage. You really get that impression from the disclaimer at the bottom of the site, where it informs you in small print that HealthCare doesn't include all companies or all available products, and the ones they do tell you about may be ranked according to how they are compensated for the referral.

List Of Some Companies In Your Area

The HealthCare site starts by asking for your zip code. You'll then get a list of companies offering all types of Medicare add-ons in your area. They may not include Medicare Advantage Plans, or they may be types of coverage you're not looking for (like Medicare Supplemental Plans, also known as Medigap). In the area we targeted, the companies included United Medicare Advisors, Anthem, Medigap, and USA Coverage. We didn't see any plans from Aetna, Humana or UnitedHealthcare: three of the most trusted names in the insurance industry, and the most-often quoted when using other resources to shop for Medicare Advantage coverage. That's a big red flag.

Get Redirected And Start Over

Plus, when we clicked on the "Compare Plans" button for any of the providers in the list, all we got was a redirect to the company website. In other words, using the HealthCare platform offered nothing beyond a link to a different site, where we would have to start the whole process of getting a quote - one company at a time. Most of those companies are included in our reviews here, and you'd be better off going there directly instead of first using the HealthCare site.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans

Connected With Random Insurance Agents

What if you use the "Call Now" button? You'll be connected to an insurance agent: whichever one is in your area and has a financial relationship with HealthCare. There isn't even a disclaimer to let you know you're not actually working with the HealthCare site anymore. Confusing? Absolutely.

Lots Of Unwanted Emails And Phone Calls

While we were glad to see that this company's reputation with the BBB has improved since our first evaluation (going from a "B" to a "B+"), we still saw many of the same customer complaints as before. Because HealthCare passes along inquiries (and you give them permission to do so if you provide your contact details), you have very little control over what happens afterwards. Disgruntled consumers describe unceasing phone calls, texts and emails - as many as 100 in a week! - and almost no way to make them stop.

Use Literally Any Other Site Instead

There's just no compelling reason to use HealthCare to shop for a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you already know which insurer you prefer, we encourage you to read their review here and work directly with the company to get your quote and set up your policy. On the other hand, if you'd like to get a variety of quotes from several different companies, there are other one-stop options that will actually provide that for you - as opposed to passing you off to another company for their own financial benefit. This is our least favorite resource for getting Medicare Advantage coverage.

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Continued from above...

Think of it like an all-inclusive resort: you might give up some flexibility in exchange for knowing that everything is taken care of, from meals to entertainment, and you don't have to try and cobble together a plan for your perfect vacation. Similarly, Medicare Advantage bundles up a number of features, many times including prescription drug coverage and even dental/vision/hearing services, that otherwise you'd have to piece together on your own with separate standalone plans.

Medicare Advantage premiums vary by provider and by plan. It's possible to get a policy with $0 in monthly payments, but those tend to come with higher out-of-pocket costs like office visit copays and annual deductibles. It's also important to point out that you can't have an Advantage plan and a Medigap policy at the same time: you'll need to carefully consider your situation - anticipated health needs, your income and ability to pay monthly premiums vs. paying for hospitalizations and other major medical expenses, and so forth - to strategize which additional Medicare coverage you need and when.

There are two main approaches to buying a Medicare Advantage Plan: go directly to an insurance company or work with a broker. Buying your policy right from an insurer can feel more reliable, choosing a company you already know and trust, maybe even one that has been your healthcare insurance provider in the past. You can usually count on premium quotes to be the lowest possible for that particular company. However, going through a broker or a referral service doesn't necessarily mean you'll pay more - and you gain the advantage of getting policy quotes from multiple providers at once. No insurance company is going to tell you that you might get better coverage from a competitor!

Either route you choose, it's a good idea to do some research in advance: to familiarize yourself with the different Medicare Advantage Plans, their benefits and their average premium costs for someone in your demographic (age, gender, location, etc.). Otherwise you could find yourself feeling pressured to commit to a policy that might not be the best fit for your needs. There are many websites, offered both by brokers/referral services and by the insurance companies themselves, with helpful articles and tools to help you figure out what coverage is best suited to you. Also, be aware that in order to apply for any Medicare Advantage Plan, you'll need to have your Medicare number - so make sure you've taken the steps to enroll in Medicare before choosing your Advantage coverage.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Medicare Advantage Plans available today. We hope our in-depth evaluations save you some time and hassle - by providing the detailed information you need to select the best provider and plan for your coverage!

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Medicare Advantage Plan FAQ

Medicare Advantage Plans are a way of getting your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage through private companies approved by Medicare. These insurers have to follow specific rules in order to participate. These plans typically operate with an HMO or PPO structure, requiring you to use in-network providers for maximum benefits. Some customers appreciate getting their services bundled from an insurance company they already trust, often with extra benefits not found with Original Medicare.
If you have Medicare Part A and Part B, and there's a plan that is available where you live, you're eligible for Medicare Advantage. Bear in mind that Advantage policies are almost always network-based: if you live in another state during the year, your plan may not offer benefits in both places.
Yes! You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan either when you first sign up for Medicare A & B or during the yearly enrollment period from October 15 through December 7. Once you're enrolled in a plan, you can switch to a different one or back to Original Medicare from January 1 through March 31. There are also special enrollment periods for certain life events, like moving to a different address, losing your current coverage, or your contract not being renewed.
There are many differences between these two types of additional Medicare coverage. Medicare Supplement Plans, or Medigap, are designed to pay the out-of-pocket costs not paid by Medicare itself. These plans don't include prescription drugs, tend to have higher premiums than Advantage coverage, and you'll pay more if you don't enroll early on in your Medicare coverage. On the other hand, Medicare Advantage Plans are usually much lower in premiums and higher in out-of-pocket costs. Advantage policies often have prescription drug benefits. But, Medicare Advantage doesn't pay any of the costs that original Medicare doesn't cover. You can't be enrolled in both a Medigap plan and an Advantage plan at the same time.
That depends on the plan you select. However, one of the reasons Advantage plans are so attractive is because many of them do include dental, vision, or hearing benefits - or all three!
That also depends on the plan you choose. Almost every Medicare Advantage plan will still have out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions. When getting a quote, have your medications handy: many online quote platforms and insurance brokers will ask for the name and dosage, to provide you with an accurate estimate of what you'll spend for those specific prescriptions with a given Advantage policy.
Believe it or not, there are Medicare Advantage policies that have $0 monthly premiums. Of course, you get what you pay for - and if you want broader coverage and lower deductibles/out-of-pocket costs, your premiums will be higher.
That's a matter of preference. But, it can be helpful to start your search by using a website that offers quotes from multiple insurers, so that you can get a feel for what's available in your area. Many of these referring websites can walk you through the entire application process with any company you select, without pressuring you to choose one over another. On the other hand, if you already know which insurer you want - or maybe there's only one available where you live - there's nothing wrong with getting your plan right from the insurance company.
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