Medicare Advantage plans are steadily increasing in popularity throughout the nation. The same holds true for Washington state. Some areas of the state have little access to Medicare Part C options but these plans are starting to expand in new areas.

In Washington’s major cities, 438,946 Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Part C options. That makes up about 36% of the people enrolled in Medicare throughout the biggest six cities in the state.

Washington Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Part C plans work a little differently than Original Medicare. These plans will vary depending on where you live and what carrier plan you enroll in. When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you essentially put your Traditional Medicare benefits on hold, and the new plan takes over your Medicare administration.

Many refer to these plans as all-in-one plans because the majority of them include drug coverage and additional benefits that Medicare doesn’t cover. They usually have little to no premium options and fixed payments for most services when using the plan. This makes it easier to predict your cost than Original Medicare.

Cowlitz, Clark, Thurston, Spokane, and Whatcom counties have the largest concentration of Medicare Advantage plans in the state. These counties provide their Medicare residents with a minimum of 26 Medicare Part C options each.

Medicare Advantage Plans Offers in Washington

Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized by the federal government. That means the costs and benefits of the plan will vary depending on where you live, and which plan you choose. The information shown below is based on one zip code in Washington and your available plans may be a little different.

We’re going to cover the Washington Medicare Advantage plans that have a zero dollar premium, Then a few that don’t require a deductible. Next, we’ll discuss plans with a 5-star rating. Finally, we’ll go over plans that will lower your Medicare Part B costs, and answer some frequently asked questions.

Medicare Advantage Plans with a Zero Dollar Premium in Washington

Zero-dollar plans are becoming the norm when it comes to Medicare Advantage. Keep in mind that in some cases plans with a zero premium may increase your out-of-pocket costs when you use the benefits. Be sure to consult a licensed broker to ensure you choose a plan that fits your needs.

One of the largest Medicare insurers in the nation is Humana. Their Local PPO option has the lowest out-of-pocket maximum shown. Humana is known for great plans and fantastic customer service.

AARP endorses UnitedHealthcare. They are the biggest Medicare company in the US. They have an HMO-POS that has some out-of-network coverage. UnitedHealthcare offers plans across the entire spectrum of Medicare.

Premera Blue Cross is a great option as well. BCBS is a well-known company in the insurance space so it’s no surprise to see them in the mix. Most people have been on a BCBS plan at some point in their lives.

PLAN PREMIUM MOOP PLAN TYPE STAR RATINGS
Premera Blue Cross $0 $6,700 HMO 3
Kaiser Permanente $0 $6,600 HMO 5
Aetna $0 $5,500 LOCAL PPO 4
Humana $0 $5,000 LOCAL PPO 4
UnitedHealthcare $0 $6,500 HMOPOS 4

Medicare Advantage Plans with a Zero Dollar Drug Deductible in Washington

When it comes to drug coverage Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide coverage as good or better than the CMS approved standard model. This Model includes four phases that include a deductible. Some carriers have decided they won’t charge a deductible for prescription drugs.

CVS is a well-known pharmacy, and they are the parent company of Aetna. It’s no surprise they have a plan that doesn’t have a deductible. They see Medicare drug patients often and have plenty of data to look at to see what’s good for their enrollees.

Amerigroup is a smaller Medicare Advantage carrier that has plans in only a few states. They understand to compete with the larger companies they need to offer stellar benefits and provide services that beneficiaries will appreciate. Offering a plan without a drug deductible is a good step in the right direction.

Rounding out the list is one of the top Medicare plan providers. Wellcare, a Centene company, has solidified itself as one of the premier Medicare carriers. They have great benefits and creative additional plan extras that really help their plan members.

PLAN PREMIUM MOOP PLAN TYPE STAR RATINGS
UnitedHealthcare $0 $6,500 HMOPOS 4
Aetna $0 $6,500 HMOPOS 3
Humana $0 $6,500 HMO 4
Amerigroup $0 $5,900 HMO 3
Wellcare $0 $5,900 HMO N/A

Medicare Advantage Plans with a 5-Star Rating in Washington

Medicare Advantage plans are rated with a one to five-star rating system. It’s not easy to receive the top rating of 5-star, but two plans in Washington boast that rating. Five-star plans allow enrolling members outside of the typical enrollment periods. They are given a special enrollment period that starts on December 8th and continues through October 14th.

Kaiser Permanente is a common name in the state of Washington. They have a unique model of care that many beneficiaries appreciate. They have one of the tighter networks available, but their members enjoy the VIP service they receive.

Providence is a much smaller Medicare Advantage provider. They are not available nationwide, but they put their focus on the areas they serve. Their hard work in staying patient-centric has led the to a 5-star rating.

PLAN PREMIUM MOOP PLAN TYPE STAR RATINGS
Kaiser Permanente $0 $6,600 HMO 5
Providence $0 $5,500 HMO 5

 

Medicare Advantage Plans with a Part B Reduction in Washington

Part B giveback plans have been the highlight of many Medicare plan advertisements as of late. These plans can lower the amount you’re paying for Medicare Part B. These plans will vary in the amount that is reduced depending on where you live and which carrier you choose. Remember these plans may not be available in your area.

When it comes to giveback plans, Wellcare has the market in Washington. They have to two largest giveback options available in the state.

UnitedHealthcare has the second-largest giveback allowance. Even though their plan is new to the area and not yet rated, we expect many residents of Washington to take advantage of this plan.

Aetna has a 4-star rated giveback plan. They come in third with a Part B reduction of $25 a month.

PLAN PREMIUM MOOP PART B REDUCTION STAR RATINGS
Aetna $0 $5,500 $25.00 4
Humana $0 $5,000 $10.00 4
UnitedHealthcare $0 $5,500 $50.00 N/A
Wellcare $0 $4,000 $55.00 N/A
Wellcare $0 $7,550 $60.00 N/A

Ancillary/DVH

One of the largest allures of Medicare Advantage plans is the additional benefits and plan extras they provide. These are benefits that aren’t covered by Original Medicare. Many plans offer these at no additional cost. Common plan extras include gym memberships, dental, vision, and hearing coverage. In addition, some plans provide healthy food cards to encourage their members to eat healthily. These benefits will vary depending on your location and the plan sponsor.

FAQs

What Medicare Advantage plans are the highest rated in Washington?

Medicare Advantage plans are rated by a star rating system. One star is the lowest rating, with five stars being the highest. Both Kaiser Permanente and Providence have 5-star rated plans in Washington.

Is Humana Medicare Advantage offered in Washington state?

Yes! Humana offers a variety of Medicare Advantage plans throughout the state of Washington. Their plan offerings include HMO and PPO options.

Which Medicare Advantage plan offers the largest giveback in Washington?

Wellcare actually has two plans with larger givebacks than the other carriers. They have plans with Part B reduction amounts of $60 and $55 dollars per month.

How to Get Help Enrolling in a Washington Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage plans come in all shapes and options. From zero-premium plans to Part b reductions. It’s difficult to figure out which plan truly fits your needs. Fortunately, you’re not alone. We’re here to assist you with your Medicare options.

We can help you review your drugs and doctors, and look for the plan that fits your needs and wants. Our licensed agents work with all the carriers and can help guide you through this difficult process. Give us a call, or fill out our online request form for expert assistance.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.