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Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021

When it comes to Medicare, seniors have plenty of different options. One of these options is a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans are through private insurance companies. Below we’ll discuss the best Medicare Advantage plans & carriers. These carriers are top companies that have proven themselves in the Medicare space time and time again.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Carriers for 2021

  1. Aetna
  2. Humana
  3. Cigna

These long-standing companies offer the best Medicare Advantage plans year after year. But, since Medicare isn’t free, it’s a good idea to have other options for coverage. One option is a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans will take the place of Medicare. When you go to the doctor, your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare.

These plans have Part D, which can make keeping track of your healthcare easier. Some plans even include things like routine dental, routine eye care, and silver-sneakers fitness programs. Also, more plans are offering a Part B give-back option where you get a lower Part B premium when you enroll in that policy. But. you’ll still want to check the Part D formulary. Choosing a reliable company to handle your Medicare Advantage benefits is essential.

Some states have more Medicare Advantage plan enrollees than other states. For example, fewer beneficiaries in Louisiana have Medicare Advantage than the percentage of enrollees in Florida.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment by Carrier

Which Company Has the Best Medicare Advantage Plan?

The answer to this question depends on what you define as best. Does best mean the lowest monthly premium, or does best mean lowest cost-sharing. Maybe best to you means the highest overall customer satisfaction rating or the plan with the most benefits. Below, we listed the best Medicare Advantage carriers based on company ratings. Coverage options and benefits.

Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021

Aetna Medicare Supplement plansThe Aetna Medicare Advantage plans are number one on our list. Aetna is one of the largest health insurance carriers in the world. They have earned the title of an AM Best A Rated Company.

These plans have options- HMO or PPO, zero or low premiums, and added benefits. You can choose the plan that is right for you and your needs.

Aetna has options to keep you healthy; they have annual wellness visits, hearing, vision check-ups, and Part D coverage. If you want discounts on fitness centers, you can choose a plan with that option.

Aetna has a vast network of doctors, hospitals, and many other benefits. If you have more than one doctor you want to see, an Aetna plan might be the best plan for you.

The network of pharmacies is also extensive, making filling your prescription someplace nearby easier. Many of the preferred generic drugs start at just $1.

Humana Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021

Humana Medicare Supplement PlansHumana has been providing Part C coverage for over 20 years. With over millions of Medicare members, Humana Medicare Advantage plans have some of the lowest out of pocket costs.

For example, some maximum out-of-pockets are as low as $2,200. If this plan is in your service area, that would mean the most you can spend on copayments and coinsurances for the year is $2,200.

If you have high health care costs, a Humana Plan might be the plan for you. Many of Humana Part C plans come with additional benefits to support your well-being. Most Advantage plans are including fitness programs and access to more than 13,000 fitness centers, convenient mail-order pharmacy services, and a 24/7 nurse advice line.

Silver Sneakers gives you access to gyms and exercise classes throughout the United States, with no membership fees required.

Also, two Medicare Advantage contracts in Florida and Tennessee have a 5-star rating on CMS. 5-star plans have a Special Enrollment Period option; so, if you don’t have a 5-star plan, you can enroll in the high-quality plan anytime during the year.

Cigna Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021

Cigna Medicare Supplement PlansCigna has been around for hundreds of years. Just like Aetna, Cigna has an A Rating with A.M Best company. Cigna offers more than just experience; they provide expertise. They understand one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to Medicare needs and plans. That is why Cigna offers many plan options, including Special Needs Plans.

Cigna has special needs plans for people in nursing homes or skilled nursing care, or people with diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and options for people with Medicare and Medicaid.

Cigna has over 86 million members worldwide.

Things to Know About Medicare Advantage Plans

  • You can only join at certain times during the year unless you qualify for a Special Election Period. In most cases, you enroll in a plan for a year.
  • The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period allows beneficiaries to switch to another plan. They can even return to Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan if they’re unhappy with their current Advantage plan.
  • Check with the plan before you get a service to find out if the service is covered and what your costs might be.
  • Many times, Medicare Advantage plans require prior authorization.
  • Following plan guidelines, like getting a referral when needed, can keep your costs lower. Check with your plan.
  • Providers can join and leave a plan’s provider network at any time during the year. Your policy can change the providers in the network at any time. If either of these things happens, you’ll need to choose a new provider.
  • If your plan decides to stop participating in Medicare, join another Health plan or return to Medicare.
  • Once you enroll, you’ll automatically lose any drug plan you had. You can’t have an MA plan and a separate prescription drug plan unless it is a PFFS Medicare Advantage plan.
    • You get prescriptions through most Advantage plans. Individuals with a Medigap or Medicare will need a separate drug policy.

Understanding the Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

There are different types of Medicare Advantage Plans; Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans, Special Needs Plans (SNPs), and HMO Point-of-Service (HMO-POS) plans.

  • HMO plans only cover you when you go to doctors, providers, or hospitals in your plan’s network except in urgent or emergencies. Referrals from primary care doctors to see other doctors or specialists may be required.
  • PPO plans will generally cover you outside the network with a higher out of pocket cost to you.
  • PFFS plans are most like Medicare; you can go to any doctor, provider, or hospital if they accept the plan’s payment terms.
  • Special Needs Plans provide specialized health care for specific groups of people, like those with Medicare and Medicaid, people living in a nursing home, or those with certain chronic medical conditions.
  • HMO-POS plans may allow you to get some services out-of-network for a higher cost.

What is the Highest Rated Medicare Advantage Plan

Of course, every person and location will have a different “best” option. But, overall, we love Aetna Medicare Advantage plans for the more extensive doctor networks than some of the other options. But, Humana and UnitedHealthcare are still both companies with high customer satisfaction ratings. Ultimately, the best policy is the one that brings you the most value. For some Medigap vs Medicare Advantage could be better. But, the choice is yours to make. We’re here to help you figure out your options and identify that “best for you” policy.

How to Get Help Deciding on the Best Medicare Advantage Plan for You

Our agents will gather some health information from you, then see what the best Medicare Advantage plans are available in your area. We can also compare Part D and the most popular Medigap plans for you as well. We worth with all the leading carriers, saving you time when comparing your options. Give us a call now, or you can compare rates by filling out our rate form here.

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Lindsay Malzone

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

28 thoughts on “Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021

  1. my husband has Medicare parts A&B — my insurance, that he’s been on, ends June 30 and my son and I will go on Cobra. Is a medicare Advantage the way to go for him? I was told NOT to do medigap. Is Highmark BCBS a good plan? And what does it mean, ‘no premiums’? Does the ‘advantage’ combine A, B, C & D? Is that what it does? Is the premium you pay for part B still the same under an ‘advantage’ plan?

    1. Hi Lisa! This is for sure really hard to answer over a comment so I will include links to our articles that provide more insight. I’m curious to know why someone told you not to enroll in Medigap since that’s the opposite of what you usually hear. Most people say do not to enroll in Medicare Advantage due to all the limitations they come with. When you enroll in an Advantage plan, you are leaving Original Medicare Part A & Part B. You still must pay your Part B premium, but Medicare pays the Advantage carrier to take on your risk. The private carrier is now in charge of your healthcare and can decide how much of each service they want to cover vs a Medigap plan which is standardized by the federal government. Some Advantage plans do include prescription drug coverage. Yes, some have a zero-dollar premium, but you still must pay the Part B premium. Keep in mind, the less you pay in monthly premiums, the more you will pay out of pocket as you use the services. Make sure to compare Medigap vs Medicare Advantage plans side by side so you fully understand what you’re enrolling in. You can check out our video section, we talk a lot about this topic. I hope this helps!

  2. Spouse turns 65 in end of Aug. does SS automatically enroll him. What’s my next step..need best coverage for a cancer patient.Any suggestions.

    1. Hi Holly! If your spouse is currently collecting Social Security benefits, they will be automatically enrolled into both Part A & Part B. They will receive their Medicare card a few months prior to their birthday. It’s extremely important that you enroll in a Medigap plan within 6 months of their Part B going into effect since they will be in their Medigap Open Enrollment window and pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, won’t impact them getting into a plan. I would go with Part A, Part B, then enroll in Plan G for Medigap & Part D for prescriptions. Give us a call and we can help!

  3. BUT they can probably charge you more or provide less options. I’m SO SCARED to change average programmes!!

  4. I am a retired federal employee and have kept by Federal Employee Benefits Health plan,FEHP, When speaking with the When speaking to the person that makes the appointments she says they only accept medicare advantage programs. I told the person I had FEHB that was secondary to Medicare. Does this sound reasonable , do I need to speak to another person that might know more? Thanks for your help

    1. Hi David! It’s possible that the facility you spoke to only accepts Medicare Advantage plans. These are offered by private carriers, not the federal government. More than likely you have Original Medicare as your primary and your FEHB as your secondary. You can use the Care Compare tool to find doctors near you that accept Medicare.

  5. Do Supplements take payment using part B like Medicare advantage or how does Part B work with supplements and Advantage doent it take your part N?

    1. Hi Judy. Some Medicare Advantage plans are known as “Give Back Plans.” They reduce your Part B premium by giving some of it back to you. They’re able to do this since the carriers get paid by Medicare to take on your risk. The carrier also makes this money back by charging you a higher premium and collecting other out of pocket costs in the form of cost-sharing from each enrollee. You still have to enroll in both Part A and Part B to enroll in either a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medigap plan. Carriers that offer Medigap plans do not get paid by Medicare. They cannot use a portion of the premium you pay for Part B and apply it to your Medigap premium. Medigap plans work with your Part B by filling in the gaps in coverage, such as the 20% coinsurance for all outpatient services. Medicare Advantage plans do not always cover the 20% coinsurance, each carrier determines how much they will pay for each service. They could decide to charge you the 20% coinsunrace, plus a high co-pay. When if you have a Medigap plan, you would not have to pay the 20% coinsurance and there are never any copays.

  6. I have Aetna Elite Advantra PPO Medicare Advantage. I see things are changing in my policy. In the past I have viewed a Medicare Advantage comparison in SHIIP’s website for Iowa. This year the website has changed and I have not been able to find that comparison. Can you help me with the address of this information for 2021.

    1. Hi Cathy! Yes, we can help you with that. We just need some information from you to see what Medicare Advantage plans are available in your zip code. If you fill out our compare rates form, we’ll contact you with the comparison you’re looking for Aetna and all other carriers as well.

  7. If your over 65 and on Medicare but did not take plan d and now looking for an advantage plan I know you will have to pay a penalty because you did not take a prescription plan do you also have to pay for plan d plus the penalty

    1. Hi Jeanne! So, there is a penalty for not signing up for Part D when you’re first eligible. However, it does not impact your enrollment or premiums if you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. This penalty only impacts you when you go to enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan. Yes, you’ll have to pay for Part D + the penalty, which is added to your monthly premium for the rest of your life. However, if you had creditable coverage, then the penalty won’t apply to you.

  8. Medicare advantage plans all require prior authorization. Traditional Medicare doesn’t. Medicare advantage plsns limit your doctor choice, Medicare doesn’t. Medicare advantage plans are middle men trying to make profits from taxpayers by killing patients as fast as possible.

  9. Please do NOT be fooled by the advertisement from Medicare advantage plan. All the private Medicare advantage plans will require prior authorization for expensive but necessary treatments. Many time patients are dead by the time they get prior authorization. Medicare advantage plans also limit your choice of doctors. Overall, Medicare advantage plans are thieves stealing tax dollars through killing patients by delaying and denying treatments. Preserve the traditional Medicare!

    1. Hi John! If you want less out of pocket costs, then Medicare Supplements are better. They cover most, if not all, out of pocket costs depending on the letter plan you choose. With Medicare Advantage, you’ll always have out of pocket costs. What you would pay out of pocket with a Medicare Supplement will be less than the Medicare Advantage maximum out of pocket costs.

  10. Are Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans available in all 50 states? Aetna Medicare Essential PPO Plan for 2020 has in-network Aetna Providers and the associated costs, also Out-Of-Network (OON) providers will be covered and my share of the cost is 40%. If I live in Georgia and require medical treatment in another state, then could I go to an in-network Aetna Provider in that state and still have the in-network Aetna Provider associated costs for that service?

    1. Hi Donald! Unfortunately, Medicare Advantage plans are not available in all states. Your plan may or may not cover care outside of its service area. I would contact your plan to see what rules and costs apply when you travel within the U.S.

  11. I’m the widow of a veteran with Tricare for Life coverage. How does this work, both for doctors and prescriptions, with a Medicare Advantage plan?


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