Medicare Insurance Review Methodology

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Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are an attractive alternative to Original Medicare, and often include prescription drug benefits. In fact, nearly half of all people eligible for Medicare enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2022. But choosing which provider and plan to go with can be challenging. That’s where we come in.

We extensively researched 13 of the largest insurance carriers that offer Medicare Advantage plans, Part D prescription drug coverage, and/or Medicare supplement plans to determine the best Medicare providers for different plan types across a range of criteria. Our methodology from start to finish is detailed below.

Which Articles Use Our Methodology

We have many articles about the best Medicare insurance companies for specific products or to meet the needs of particular readers. This methodology describes the process used for compiling our list of the Best Medicare Advantage Plans. Other articles that list the best Medicare insurance companies for certain products or readers (for example, Best Medicare Supplement Insurance or Best Medicare Part D Plans) rely on information collected as part of the grading process described here. But selections and order of providers are based on additional product-specific criteria plus subjective insights from our editors and industry experts. 

Literature Review

We identified top companies by market share within the industry offering Medicare Advantage plans from various business and market insight databases including Statistia, Plunkett, and Gale. We also considered user-generated data from Google to determine public interest and trends in Medicare plans. 

Data Collection and Verification

Our data was collected from third-party rating agencies, official government websites and databases, and directly from companies via websites, media contacts, and existing partnerships. Our sources include: AM Best, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), J.D. Power, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Data was verified to ensure data integrity and accuracy by cross-referencing the records and citation corresponding to each data point with our primary sources.

Ratings Methodology

We calculated star ratings for the quality of each company’s different plan types. Factors considered for companies offering Medicare Advantage plans were: 

  • Plan quality and customer satisfaction (30%): CMS and NCQA ratings were considered to measure these criteria. Each organization independently rates the quality of Medicare plans on a one-to-five scale to help people compare plans during open enrollment. 
  • Cost to value (20%): This is a measure of plan value based on plan premiums, deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket amounts, whether additional drug coverage is offered in the Medicare gap, and star ratings.
  • Additional coverage offered in the Medicare gap (15%): The coverage gap or "donut hole" refers to a period when there is a limit on drug coverage. During this time, members are responsible for up to 25% of brand name and generic drugs. You may spend less on prescription drugs if your plan provides additional coverage during the gap.
  • State availability (15%): This measure indicates how widely available plans are across the U.S.
  • Additional plan benefits (10%): This measure concerns additional benefits available, including vision, dental, hearing, non-emergency transportation, worldwide emergencies, gym memberships, and telehealth. 
  • Types of plans available (5%): Insurance companies offer Medicare Advantage plans through managed care organizations, including HMOs and PPOs. This measure concerns the number of managed care options available.
  • Special needs plans (5%): This is a measure of whether the company offers plans designed for those with specific diseases.
Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. KFF. “Medicare Advantage in 2022: Enrollment Update and Key Trends."