More than half of Alabama’s Medicare beneficiaries have opted for a Medicare Advantage plan over Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits like routine dental, hearing, and vision services that aren’t covered by Original Medicare. While these benefits can be good, there are certain drawbacks to Medicare Advantage plans that all enrollees should know. 

Choosing the right Medicare coverage can all be a little confusing, but we’re here to break it down. In this article, we’ll go over highly-rated Medicare Advantage plans and how you can find the best plan for you.

Key takeaways:

  • There are 108 Medicare Advantage plans available in Alabama, but plan availability varies by county.

  • VIVA Health, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare carry plans that offer highly-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama.

  • The best Medicare Advantage plan for you depends on your unique healthcare and financial needs. 

Quick facts about Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama

  • There are 108 Medicare Advantage plans available in Alabama.

  • 57% of beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama. 

  • Insurance carriers for Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama include VIVA Health, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare.

It’s important to note that not all plans are available in every location in Alabama. Plans can vary from county to county. 

Highly-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama

The first thing to know when starting your research about Medicare Advantage is that there’s not one plan that’s the best for everyone. Everyone has different healthcare needs, and with so many Medicare Advantage plans available, you may be overwhelmed with your choices. One way you can narrow down your list of plans is by using Medicare star ratings. Keep in mind that you should always make sure that a plan addresses your healthcare needs though, and a high star rating isn’t everything!

Medicare star ratings in Alabama

Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) judges Medicare Advantage plans based on a star rating system. Searching for plans based on high CMS star ratings is a good way to find quality policies. A 1-star rating indicates a poor quality plan and a 5-star plan is considered a high quality plan.

Below, we’ve listed insurance carriers that offer highly-rated Medicare Advantage plans that are available in certain areas within Alabama.

Insurance providers that carry plans with a 5-star rating

  • VIVA Health 

Insurance providers that carry plans with a 4-star rating

  • Humana

  • UnitedHealthcare

  • Cigna

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Aetna

What to look for in a Medicare Advantage plan

Medicare Advantage plans are different from Original Medicare in a few important ways. You should know these differences to ensure that you choose the Medicare coverage that’s best for you. Here are 4 aspects about Medicare Advantage plans to consider before signing up:

1. Medicare Advantage plans often come with additional benefits

Most Medicare Advantage plans can offer additional benefits beyond Original Medicare like:

Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage plans have varying benefits. When looking for Medicare Advantage plans, make sure you list out your priorities for these additional services. If you want a free fitness membership included, for example, see what options you have available to you and learn how your plan covers the benefit. 

2. Medicare Advantage plans have out-of-pocket maximums

One good thing about Medicare Advantage plans is that they have out-of-pocket limits. If you meet this amount, you won’t have to pay anything for covered healthcare services for the rest of the year. Consider a Medicare Advantage plan that has a low out-of-pocket maximum if you know you’ll spend more on healthcare. This will be especially helpful since out-of-pocket costs can range, which we’ll discuss below.

3. Out-of-pocket costs can vary between plans

Because Medicare Advantage plans are managed by private insurance companies, what you pay for copays, coinsurance, and deductibles can vary. The insurance provider can set the out-of-pocket costs, and there is no standardized maximum. Plus, you could end up paying even more out of pocket if you see a specialist or provider that’s out-of-network. Familiarize yourself with your summary of benefits and healthcare facilities that take your insurance. 

4. Medicare Advantage plans can be more restrictive

The majority of Medicare Advantage plans operate under provider networks. That means that you can only see a provider if they are part of the same network. Otherwise, you can face higher out-of-pocket costs. That said some plans also have an out-of-pocket maximum for out-of-network providers. Medicare Advantage plans also often require prior authorization, which can delay your access to timely, affordable care.

How to find the best Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama

We want to equip you with the knowledge and resources to make the best decision about your healthcare needs. While you should start your search by finding high-quality plans and familiarizing yourself with what Medicare Advantage offers, every person’s needs are unique. A 5-star CMS rating doesn’t necessarily mean that the plan has the right coverage for your health and financial needs. 

Talking to a Medicare Advisor is the best way to know which Alabama Medicare Advantage plan is best for you. A Chapter Advisor can help you compare plans, figure out the best coverage, and enroll in your chosen plan. Get started today by calling us at 855-900-2427 or scheduling a time to chat.

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