Seniors who are looking into Medicare Advantage plans might save themselves some time by starting with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.
It received the highest mark by a healthy margin in J.D. Power’s 2021 Medicare Advantage Study.
The study, now in its seventh year, ranks plans based on ratings from Medicare Advantage plan members themselves. For the 2021 study, more than 3,300 such members from across the U.S. were polled.
The overall customer satisfaction scores are based on six factors. Listed in order of importance, they are:
- Coverage and benefits
- Provider choice
- Customer service
- Information and communication
- Billing and payment
The best Medicare Advantage plans
The average overall satisfaction score among Medicare Advantage plans included in J.D. Power’s latest study is 806 out of 1,000 points — a 6-point improvement from 2020.
Four of those plans earned average or above-average overall satisfaction scores. They are:
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan: Overall satisfaction score of 846 out of 1,000 points (which is up from 829 in 2020)
- Highmark: 834 (up from 830)
- Cigna-HealthSpring: 822 (up from 781)
- Humana: 822 (up from 800)
The plans that earned below-average overall satisfaction scores are:
- Anthem: Overall satisfaction score of 797 out of 1,000 points (which is up from 779 in 2020)
- Aetna: 795 (up from 789)
- UnitedHealthcare: 795 (down from 800)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: 788 (up from 779)
- Centene: 769 (down from 775)
Medicare Advantage versus Original Medicare
Medicare Advantage plans are one of two main types of Medicare. The other is Original Medicare, also referred to as traditional Medicare.
Original Medicare is offered directly by the federal government’s Medicare program, whereas Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers that have been approved by the government’s Medicare program.
Medicare Advantage plans must cover the same services that Original Medicare covers but also can cover other expenses as well. (We detail some of the services that Original Medicare does not cover in “Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs.”)
So, from one Medicare Advantage plan to the next, coverage and costs can differ widely.
It’s Original Medicare coverage that seniors tend to be more satisfied with, however, at least according to the findings of a 2019 Insurance.com study, which we detail in “Seniors Rate This Type of Medicare Higher for Satisfaction.”
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