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Best Health Insurance for Seniors and Retirees in 2024: Top Options

Having adequate health insurance becomes more important as we age. Medicare is a major insurance plan but is usually only available to those over 65 who have paid 10 years’ worth of Medicare taxes. Thankfully, there are other ways to retain health insurance for elderly citizens, and wish to retire early. In this article, we will review what we feel are some of the best-rated health insurance plans for seniors and early retirees in 2024.

Key takeaways:

Health insurance providers for seniors: shortlist

  1. Humana – best health insurance plan for 65+
  2. UHC – top provider for short-term insurance
  3. Aetna – excellent drug coverage
  4. Blue Cross Blue Shield – great insurance for those over 60
  5. Kaiser – good provider with top customer satisfaction
  6. Medicaid – available option for low income individuals
  7. Medicare – solid provider for those over 65

We evaluated many health insurance providers to find the best options across the country. The evaluation criteria are disclosed below in the article.

However, don’t forget that each situation is different, therefore, other health insurance plans might be more appropriate to your or your family’s individual needs. Read on to see which health insurance providers made our top list.

Best health insurance for senior citizens and retirees

There are many affordable health insurance options for seniors and early retirees. Medicare is available for seniors over 65 or those under 65 with a qualifying diagnosis. Another option is to retire partially and continue receiving health insurance from an employer. The marketplace is a great way to purchase individual health insurance for those who do not wish to work part-time.

If you qualify for Medicare but wish to obtain more coverage, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a good option for you as they offer benefits such as prescription drug coverage, vision, and dental coverage. We dive deeper and overview our top picks for seniors and retirees below.

1. Humana – best health insurance for seniors over 70

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Humana is a well-known Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. They offer one of the best Medicare plans for seniors. Humana plans are widely available. You can choose from a variety of affordable plans and prescription drug coverage, as well as vision and dental plans. The average monthly premium is less than $20. Coverage can be purchased directly through their website.

2. UHC – best health insurance for 55 and older

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has one of the largest provider networks in the US. They offer many benefits, including dental. They offer plans in every state, but coverage will vary based on the plans available in your location. UnitedHealthcare is well known for its short-term plans, which offer coverage for up to 36 months. If you retire early, these plans can help bridge the gap between employee-offered coverage and when Medicare kicks in.

3. Aetna – best Medicare plan for seniors

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Original Medicare does not offer prescription drug coverage. Seniors who qualify for Medicare and want this coverage will need to purchase a supplemental Part D plan. Aetna offers Medicare Part D plans starting at just $6/month. These plans are usually not needed for those with MA plans because many include prescription drug coverage.

4. Blue Cross Blue Shield – excellent health insurance for seniors over 60

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is offered nearly nationwide. They have Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplement plans, and plans available for individual purchase on the marketplace. There are 34 independent organizations under their umbrella, which causes plans to differ depending on your location. Because of their size and availability, they have a large network of providers.

5. Kaiser – provider with great customer satisfaction rates

Kaiser Permanente is another large and well-known insurance provider. They offer individual, family, and Medicare Advantage plans and have consistently high customer satisfaction ratings. In 2022 their MA plan took the top rating in the J.D. Power Medicare Advantage Study. They also received top ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

6. Medicaid – affordable health insurance for low-income seniors

Medicaid is a public health insurance program that offers free or low-cost insurance for those who qualify. People over 65 and on Medicare can still qualify for Medicaid if they meet the income criteria. However, Medicaid is a state-run program, and therefore, income criteria and coverage vary from state to state.

7. Medicare – cheapest health insurance for seniors

Medicare is the most widely known insurance provider for those over 65. However, if you are younger than 65, you may still be eligible if you have a qualifying diagnosis. Medicare provides hospital and health insurance, but it does not cover all out-of-pocket costs. Supplemental plans are available for things like prescription drug coverage, co-pays and deductibles. Medicare Advantage plans are available for purchase, and many of these offer dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage.

How we picked the best medical insurance for senior citizens

We based our decisions on multiple factors. These factors include state availability, cost, benefits, and customer satisfaction numbers. Plans that offered additional benefits such as drug coverage, vision, and dental were given preference over those that did not offer those benefits. State availability and large networks were other assets we looked at when considering different plans.

Many seniors and early retirees enjoy traveling and having health coverage while they are away from home is important. Cost was another major factor due to the need to factor health insurance into personal budgets. Customer satisfaction also weighed heavily into our decision. A plan can offer many benefits, but if the customers are not happy with the services, it may not be the best choice. We took employee coverage into consideration, but not all employers offer health insurance to retirees.

When it comes to health insurance, everyone has different wants, needs, and budget limitations. People are also limited to what insurance plans are available in their area. Not all plans are available in all locations, and benefits and pricing can vary depending on where you live. A good way to select the best plan is to evaluate your needs and plan availability. Checking with an independent insurance broker can help you select the best plan.

Free Medicare guidance and online rate comparison
On CoverRight Website

At what age are seniors eligible for Medicare?

Most seniors are eligible for Medicare at age 65 after paying 10 years’ worth of Medicare taxes. There are exceptions to this, however. One of those exceptions is if you have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) checks. After receiving these checks for 24 consecutive months, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B. Another exception is if you have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) AND need dialysis or a kidney transplant. You will also automatically be enrolled in Medicare if you have Lou Gehrig’s disease and receive disability benefits.

What are health insurance options for seniors below 65?

Seniors below the age of 65 have multiple options for health insurance. One of those options is Medicare if they have a qualifying diagnosis or receive SSI benefits. Another option would be to continue working, either full-time or part-time and receive health insurance through an employer.

If the employer does not offer health insurance as a benefit, plans can be purchased through the marketplace. This is also an option for someone below the age of 65 who has decided to retire early and does not have an employer to receive benefits from. Some insurance companies, like UHC, offer short-term insurance plans.

What is the best health insurance for seniors on Medicare?

Choosing the best health insurance for seniors depends on many factors. For example, answering questions like, "Do I need prescription drug coverage? How about vision or dental? Can I afford the monthly premiums?" and "Do I live in an area with many available options?" will make the decision easier.

If you are looking for prescription drug coverage, we found that Aetna offers great Medicare part D plans, along with one of the best supplemental health insurance for seniors. They cover a wide range of prescription drugs at a low monthly cost. Meet with an independent insurance broker in your area to discuss what your best options are.

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