Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (2024)

Best for size of network: UnitedHealthcare

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (1)

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (2)

UnitedHealthcare

4.17

CMS Star Rating

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

(855) 821-0556 / TTY 711

Call UnitedHealthcare

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from UnitedHealthcare

States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.

Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)

Member experience

3.55 (Average)

States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.

Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)

Member experience

3.55 (Average)

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans. UnitedHealthcare also partners with AARP, insuring the Medicare products that carry the AARP name. Many of UHC’s members are in highly rated plans, although member experience ratings are average among major providers.

» MORE: Read our review of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans

Best for extra perks: Aetna

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (3)

Aetna

4.14

CMS Star Rating

Aetna Medicare Advantage plans are widely available and offer a variety of extra benefits. Member experience scores are also high, and star ratings land just above the industry average.

(866) 907-3870 / TTY 711

8am - 11pm EST, 7 days a week

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on MedicareEnrollment.com

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from MedicareEnrollment.com

States available

46 states and Washington, D.C.

Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)

Member experience

3.77 (Above average)

Pros

  • In addition to dental, vision and hearing, many plans offer perks like an over-the-counter allowance, meal delivery and in-home health visits.
  • More than 8 in 10 Medicare-eligible beneficiaries have access to a $0-premium Aetna plan.
  • Available in 46 states and Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • Customer satisfaction lands below industry average in some major Medicare markets.

Standout feature: Some Aetna Medicare Advantage members have access to cost help with dental, vision and hearing care, as well as a variety of other benefits, such as in-home health visits and meal delivery after a hospital stay.

Aetna, a CVS Health company, is the fourth-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans. All of Aetna’s plans provide cost help with dental, vision and hearing care, and many offer other extras. Some valuable Aetna benefits include a travel benefit that allows you to access Aetna Medicare providers outside your service area, an over-the-counter benefit that lets you pick up items like vitamins and cold medications from drugstores or online at no cost and access to a consultant to help members find local resources and activities.

» MORE: Read our review of Aetna Medicare Advantage plans

Best for local support: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (4)

Blue Cross Blue Shield

3.93

CMS Star Rating

Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are widely available and affordable, but some companies earn higher marks than others on member satisfaction.

(888) 498-6687 / TTY 711

8am - 11pm EST, 7 days a week

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on MedicareEnrollment.com

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from MedicareEnrollment.com

States available

48 states and Puerto Rico

Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)

Member experience

3.41 (Average)

States available

48 states and Puerto Rico

Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)

Member experience

3.41 (Average)

Pros

  • BCBS companies offer plans in 48 states and Puerto Rico.
  • $0-premium BCBS plans are available in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
  • BCBS plans offer extra benefits like chronic condition management and preloaded debit cards for over-the-counter items.

Cons

  • Ratings and member satisfaction vary among BCBS companies, and some score lower than others. You may not have access to a highly rated BCBS company.
  • BCBS companies offer special needs plans in only half of U.S. states.

Standout feature: Blue Cross Blue Shield is a collective of 33 different companies, and many are geographically specific, offering benefits targeted to local members.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield collective is the third-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans and includes companies present in 48 states and Puerto Rico. Though BCBS’s presence is nationwide, individual companies offer benefits specific to their areas. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, for instance, offers a Medicare plan in partnership with Meijer, a supermarket chain primarily concentrated in the Midwest. And Highmark companies provide access to state-specific concierge teams that can connect members to local tools and resources. Member experience ratings vary from company to company, so it’s important to research your local BCBS provider.

» MORE: Read our review of Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans

Best for low-cost plan availability: Humana

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (5)

Humana

4.35

CMS Star Rating

Humana plans are widely available, highly rated by CMS and score well for member satisfaction. Humana also offers $0-premium plans in 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

(844) 974-2872 / TTY 711

8am - 11pm EST, 7 days a week

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on MedicareEnrollment.com

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from MedicareEnrollment.com

States available

49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Members in high-rated plans

High (90% or more)

Member experience

4.04 (Above average)

States available

49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Members in high-rated plans

High (90% or more)

Member experience

4.04 (Above average)

Pros

  • Offers $0-premium plans in every U.S. state except Alaska.
  • Higher-than-average overall star rating from CMS.
  • Strong member experience scores among major providers.

Cons

  • Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans available in only 22 states.
  • The National Committee for Quality Assurance gives several Humana plans a 3 or below on its 5-point scale.

Standout feature: Humana offers $0-premium plans in 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and 83% of members in non-special needs plans (SNPs) are in a $0-premium plan.

Humana is the second-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans, and in addition to being widely available, the company offers $0-premium plans in every U.S. state except Alaska. Humana’s average Medicare star rating, weighted by enrollment, is 4.35 out of 5, and the vast majority of the plan’s members are in highly rated plans.

» MORE: Read our review of Humana Medicare Advantage plans

Best of the Blues: Highmark

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (6)

Highmark

4.42

CMS Star Rating

Highmark is a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield family, which includes 33 independent companies. Highmark plans are highly rated and score well for member satisfaction, but plans are available in only four states.

(888) 614-3549 / TTY 711

8am - 11pm EST, 7 days a week

Speak to a licensed insurance agent on MedicareEnrollment.com

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from MedicareEnrollment.com

States available

4 states

Members in high-rated plans

High (90% or more)

Member experience

3.99 (Above average)

States available

4 states

Members in high-rated plans

High (90% or more)

Member experience

3.99 (Above average)

Pros

  • Higher-than-average overall star rating from CMS.
  • Member experience ratings are well above average.

Cons

  • Available in only four states: Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
  • Has the smallest percentage of $0-premium plans of the major providers.

Standout feature: Highmark gets high Medicare star ratings and high member experience scores from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Highmark is a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield family, which includes 33 independent companies that together form the third-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans. Highmark is one of the few Blue companies with a 5-star contract in 2024, and Highmark’s average star rating is among the best of the bigger BCBS companies. The provider also ranks second in customer satisfaction in Pennsylvania, one of the major Medicare markets surveyed in this year’s J.D. Power study.

» MORE: Read our review of Highmark Medicare Advantage plans

How to shop for Medicare Advantage plans

The right Medicare Advantage plan for you will depend on your health history, prescription medications and where you live, among other factors. Here are some strategies for selecting the best plan:

  • Check star ratings. The CMS collects data on Medicare Advantage plans from member surveys, the plans themselves and medical providers, and then it assigns a star rating based on the results. The star rating is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being best.

  • Compare out-of-pocket costs. Each plan will have a monthly premium (many Medicare Advantage plans have no premium) and a maximum out-of-pocket cost, which is the most you’ll pay in a year for covered health care.

  • Keep your meds in mind. Your medications may seem like an afterthought, but make sure you investigate how each plan will cover your medications — or whether they’re covered at all.

  • Look for your doctors. If you’ve got a list of caregivers and medical facilities you use and prefer, look for plans that include them.

  • Consider the plan type. If you see specialists frequently and you don’t want to seek a referral for every office visit, a PPO plan is probably the better fit. If you’re a light health care user and see mostly your primary care physician, an HMO might be more affordable.

Here's an overview of our top picks for Medicare Advantage plans:

  • Best for size of network: UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage.

  • Best for extra perks: Aetna Medicare Advantage.

  • Best for local support: Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage.

  • Best for low-cost plan availability: Humana Medicare Advantage.

  • Best of the Blues: Highmark Medicare Advantage.

» MORE: What you'll pay for Medicare in 2024

You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you first become eligible for Medicare (your initial enrollment period) or during designated annual Medicare enrollment periods.

If you have additional questions about Medicare, visitMedicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).

Medicare Advantage review methodology

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

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

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in 2024 - NerdWallet (2024)
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