- Written by Christian Simmons
Christian Simmons is a writer for RetireGuide and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). He covers Medicare and important retirement topics. Christian is a former winner of a Florida Society of News Editors journalism contest and has written professionally since 2016.Read More
- Edited BySavannah Pittle
Senior Financial Editor
Savannah Pittle is a professional writer and content editor with over 16 years of professional experience across multiple industries. She has ghostwritten for entrepreneurs and industry leaders and been published in mediums such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living and Interior Appeal Magazine.Read More
- Reviewed ByMichael Jones
Medicare Expert and Owner of Grand Anchor Insurance Solutions
Michael Jones is a licensed insurance agent who manages his own agency called Grand Anchor Insurance Solutions. In addition to being a Medicare expert, Michael specializes in other insurance products such as voluntary benefits for employees of businesses.Read More
- Published: November 18, 2022
- Updated: February 14, 2023
- 6 min read time
- This page features 9 Cited Research Articles
Our List of Best Medicare Advantage Providers for 2023How We Picked Them
We evaluated Medicare Advantage plan providers across the U.S., ultimately choosing among those which fit our strict criteria. To be included, providers must have:
- A 3.5 or higher Medicare Star Rating average among plans offered in 2023.
- Serviced at least 1 million beneficiaries in 2022.
- A strong and stable financial strength rating as a company.
Understanding Our Methodology
RetireGuide uses a strict, fact-based methodology to determine which companies can qualify for our rankings. To be considered a top Medicare Advantage provider, a company must have averaged a 3.5 overall Star Rating or better amongst its offered plans in 2023. These Star Ratings, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), take many factors into account to accurately and fairly rate Medicare Advantage plans. Using them helps our editorial team ensure that each included company provides strong plan options.
To be included, a company must have also serviced at least 1 million beneficiaries in 2022, narrowing the focus to providers whose plans are available to many Americans. The editorial team also considered additional factors, including the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index and the financial strength ratings of each company, when creating our rankings.
Learn more about our broader Editorial Guidelines.Many people ask to be put on the “best plan.” But there are so many factors that go into finding the best plan for you. Be sure you and your agent take your time in making sure that your plan choice will cover all of your medicines and that it has the extra benefits that you would like as well, such as dental and vision.
Editor’s Choice: Best Overall Medicare Advantage ProviderGreat for: high-quality, well-rounded plan offerings
Pros & ConsPros
- Five plans received perfect 5.0 star ratings
- No plan given less than a 4.0 star rating
- HMO or HMO-POS plans available
- Plans only offered in eight states and Washington, D.C.
- Highest average Star Rating among eligible companies
- Highest ranked Medicare Advantage company in J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index
- Significantly less national availability than other companies
- Little diversity in types of plans offered compared to competitors
Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare Advantage plans may not be as widely available as those from the competition, but the available plans tend to be of higher quality than the alternatives.
Kaiser Permanente’s plans can include many additional benefits beyond the standard vision, hearing and dental; these include telehealth, fitness and transportation perks. A 2022 J.D. Power Medicare Advantage Study also found that Kaiser Permanente plans led all competitors in customer satisfaction by a significant margin.
The major drawback is the reach of the company. The diversity of plan options is fairly limited with plans offered in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Wide Access to Low-Cost OptionsGreat for: low premium, copay and deductible options
Pros & ConsPros
- Largest Medicare Advantage provider
- Most plans include $0 premiums and $0 copays
- Plans are available to 95% of beneficiaries nationwide
- Offers many additional plan benefits
- Leads the industry with 97% of beneficiaries enrolled in a plan with a $0 primary care physician copay
- Largest Medicare Advantage provider in the country
- Many plans include dental and vision benefits
- Slightly below industry average in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index
- Multiple plans received a Medicare Star Rating lower than 3.0
UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans in the country with over 8 million beneficiaries enrolled and continues to grow year-over-year. It offers multiple types of plans, including HMO, PPO and SNP choices.
One of the company’s biggest advantages is the low cost of many of its plans. Most of its offerings include $0 premiums as well as $0 copays. This even extends to benefits in some cases, with many plans including no out-of-pocket costs for non-cosmetic dental care. Eye and hearing exams also come in at no cost on most plans. Additional benefits include over-the-counter allowances, gym memberships and rewards for completing health activities.
UnitedHealthcare’s size also ensures that beneficiaries across the country have access to these plans. There are some drawbacks despite the company’s size, however, with UnitedHealthcare scoring a below-average rating in the J.D. Power Medicare Advantage Study. While most plans scored well in 2023, there were several options that received a 2.5 Medicare Star Rating.
Wide Access to High-Quality PlansGreat for: highly rated, widely available plans
Pros & ConsPros
- Highly rated plans available across the country
- Many plans with $0 premiums
- Offers HMO, PPO and SNP options
- Participates in SilverSneakers program
- 96% of enrollees are in a plan rated 4.0 stars or higher in 2023
- Ranked second in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index
- Common additional benefits include SilverSneakers, over-the-counter allowances and the insulin savings program
- Trails UnitedHealthcare in size and Kaiser Permanente in average Star Rating
Humana is one of the largest Medicare Advantage providers in the country, but certainly has not sacrificed size for quality. In 2023, three different Humana plans received a perfect 5.0 Medicare Star Rating, with plans rated 4.5 available across 46 states as well.
While Humana offers numerous high-quality plans, it remains reasonably affordable. There are many plans that include $0 premiums, and the company has generally satisfied customers, scoring only behind Kaiser Permanente in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index.
Humana offers several plan types as well, including HMO, PPO and SNP options.
Strong Additional Plan BenefitsGreat for: plans that include many additional benefits
Pros & ConsPros
- Many $0-premium plan options
- Additional benefits offered include telehealth and meal delivery
- Majority of plans include vision, hearing and dental benefits
- Average Star Rating fell in 2023
- Above-and-beyond benefits offered in many plans
- Plans are generally affordable and 84% of beneficiaries across the country have access to a $0-premium plan
- Saw a significant Star Rating decline in 2023
- Below industry average in J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index
If you’re looking for additional benefits and perks above all, then Aetna, which is owned by CVS Health, could be a potential option for you to consider.
Aetna’s plans include HMO, PPO and SNP options, with SNP plans in 30 states. The plans can include many benefits, including some that are not often found with competitors. Eighty-five percent of plans offer a meal delivery benefit after an inpatient stay. Over 90% of plans include eyewear, hearing and dental benefits.
There are even more niche options. Some plans include fresh food boxes of fruits and vegetables delivered to your home. Many members also have access to fitness benefits, like exercise and brain games. Additional benefits offered include telehealth, fall prevention services and an over-the-counter allowance.
But Aetna does have drawbacks, as its plans took a significant hit in the CMS Star Ratings for 2023. Its National PPO plan fell from 4.5 stars to 3.5.
Large Variety of Plans and OptionsGreat for: localized or regional options
Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans
Pros & ConsPros
- Made up of many regional companies
- Not all network companies are equal
- Plan availability varies widely based location
- Low-cost options are typically available
- Multiple BCBS options ranked among the top 10 in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index
- Plans are offered across the country
- Availability, stability and customer satisfaction vary between companies
- Options are not uniform from one company to the next
Blue Cross Blue Shield is a proven brand that supports a network of companies across the country and offers Medicare Advantage plans under its umbrella.
Many of the plans offered received high Star Ratings, and there may be various options available depending on where you live. BCBS plans typically include low-cost and $0-premium options in many areas as well.
The main drawback is simply that the quality or cost of the plans available to you will vary depending on where you live. Not all BCBS network companies are equal or offer the same plans. For example, while many affiliated plans scored high in the Star Ratings, there were some options that were rated as low as 2.5.Additional details about the featured providers and their plan offerings can be found on their respective websites, linked below:
Additional Providers We Evaluated
Verifying Provider Legitimacy
When making Medicare decisions and searching for a Medicare Advantage plan, it is important to avoid possible scams or giving out personal information to a company or entity that is not legitimate.
An easy way to check the legitimacy of a provider is to use the Medicare Plan Finder.
“One of the best sites if you just want to compare plans and look at all the plans in your area is Medicare.gov. Put in your zip code and it will show you every plan in your area,” Medicare expert Aflak Chowdhury told RetireGuide. “That way you can compare what’s good for you and then you can ask your agent or your broker ‘do you represent this plan? Can I sign up for this?’”
You can even enroll in plans that you find there directly through Medicare’s website. You can also visit the website of providers who sell plans, but it’s critical to be certain that you are on a legitimate website.
Selecting the Best Medicare Advantage Company for You
Choosing the best Medicare Advantage company for your needs means comparing plans and researching the companies offering them.
“Typically, I tell people if a plan works for you, then for you, it’s a good plan. It could be a 5-star rated plan, but if it doesn’t work for you, you’re not going to be happy with it,” Chowdhury said.
Make sure the plans you are considering offer the coverage you want at a price you can afford as you narrow down your choices. And there are other personal factors to consider as well.
“The first thing a lot of people ask is, ‘Are my doctors in the plan?’” Chowdhury said, noting that it may be difficult to keep every single doctor that you currently see. “If somebody has [to choose between keeping] a dermatologist as opposed to a heart doctor, maybe you want to keep the heart doctor.”Questions To Ask Yourself When Narrowing Down Plans
- What doctors do you need to keep?
- Are there certain medicines that you need to be covered?
- Do you qualify for Medicaid (and potentially for an SNP)?
- Do you have any other benefits (like federal or state) that you may give up?
- Do you travel often?
Another important factor to consider is if there are any medicines you are currently taking that need to be covered. Plans have formularies and cover different medications in different ways. Evaluating plans you are considering and checking how medications you take are covered can help you avoid signing up for a plan and realizing you can’t get the medicine that you need.Typically, I tell people if a plan works for you, then for you, it’s a good plan. It could be a 5-star rated plan, but if it doesn’t work for you, you’re not going to be happy with it.
When comparing plans, the Medicare Star Ratings can help you get a high-level understanding of the quality of a plan and how it compares to other options. But just because a plan is highly rated does not automatically mean it is the best choice for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare AdvantageWhat’s the difference between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare?Original Medicare is provided by the federal government. It consists of Part A, which covers hospital and inpatient stays, and Part B, which covers outpatient care, treatments and services. Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, are provided by private insurers. They must offer at minimum everything included in Original Medicare and often also include additional benefits like vision and hearing coverage.How much does Medicare Advantage cost on average?How much Medicare Advantage costs can vary heavily from plan to plan. Many companies offer plans with $0 premiums, meaning you will not have to pay anything beyond the standard Part B premium of $164.90 in 2023. Depending on the benefits and coverage offered, some Medicare Advantage plans can cost much more. Costs like deductibles or copayments vary by the plan as well.How can I find the best Medicare Advantage provider?There is no one Medicare Advantage provider that is the best option for everyone, and which company or plan makes the most sense for you will depend on your specific circumstances. For example, you may have a doctor you strongly prefer seeing and would then choose to enroll in a plan they are in-network for. Or a company may offer a specific benefit, like an over-the-counter allowance, that specifically appeals to you. It all depends on your circumstances.How does my state impact the Medicare Advantage plans available to me?Medicare Advantage plans are available regionally. There may even be different options available than what you would have just one county over. When identifying the private plan or company that makes the most sense for you, you should be sure that it is an option offered where you live.Are there alternatives to Medicare Advantage?There are several alternatives to Medicare Advantage. You could opt to stay with Original Medicare and purchase a Medigap plan, which helps to fill in some of the gaps in cost and coverage left behind by Medicare. If you need drug coverage, you could also purchase a private standalone drug plan.Last Modified: February 14, 2023
9 Cited Research Articles
- Humana. (2022, October 7). 96% of Humana’s Medicare Advantage Members are in Contracts Rated 4-Star or Above for 2023; 66% are in Contracts Rated 4.5-Star or Higher. Retrieved from https://press.humana.com/news/news-details/2022/96-of-Humanas-Medicare-Advantage-Members-are-in-Contracts-rated-4-Star-or-Above-for-2023-66-are-in-Contracts-Rated-4.5-Star-or-Higher/
- Reuters. (2022, October 6). CVS Health expects lower Medicare performance rating to impact 2024. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/cvs-health-expects-lower-medicare-performance-rating-impact-2024-2022-10-06/
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2022, October 6). 2023 Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2023-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-star-ratings
- CVS Health. (2022, October 1). Aetna 2023 Medicare plans put money back in members’ pockets. Retrieved from https://www.cvshealth.com/news/medicare/aetna-2023-medicare-plans-put-money-back-in-members-pockets.html
- Humana. (2022, October 1). Humana significantly expands Medicare Advantage health plan offerings in 2023 with focus on greater value for members. Retrieved from https://press.humana.com/news/news-details/2022/Humana-significantly-expands-Medicare-Advantage-health-plan-offerings-in-2023-with-focus-on-greater-value-for-members/#gsc.tab=0
- UnitedHealth Group. (2022, October 1). UnitedHealthcare’s 2023 Medicare Plans Add New Benefits, Simplicity for Consumers. Retrieved from https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/2022/2022-10-01-uhc-2023-medicare-new-benefits.html
- Kaiser Family Foundation. (2022, August 25). Medicare Advantage in 2022: Enrollment Update and Key Trends. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-in-2022-enrollment-update-and-key-trends/
- J.D. Power (2022, August 18). Customers Perceive Shortfall in Medicare Advantage Plan Coverage of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, J.D. Power Finds. Retrieved from https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2022-us-medicare-advantage-study
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Explore your Medicare coverage options. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/#/?year=2023&lang=en
- Edited By
Calling this number connects you to one of our trusted partners.
If you're interested in help navigating your options, a representative will provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation.
Our partners are committed to excellent customer service. They can match you with a qualified professional for your unique objectives.
We/Our Partners do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information provided is limited to those plans offered in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.888-694-0290