Understanding the Medicare insurance plans offered can be overwhelming. This article will break down Medicare Advantage plans available in Illinois. These plans combine the essential benefits of Medicare Parts A and B and others like drug coverage, vision, dental, and hearing. We will highlight the best Illinois Medicare Advantage plans with the top coverage options.
Best Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois in 2024: shortlist
- Humana — best overall Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois
- AARP by United Healthcare — best access to benefits
- Blue Cross Blue Shield — best access to doctors
Best Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois: top providers reviewed
Choosing a health plan can feel overwhelming. We extensively researched the available Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois for 2024 and found the best ones. We have concluded our analysis, which ended with our top three picks for Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois which include Humana, AARP by United Healthcare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
1. Humana — best overall MA plan in Illinois
Available in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, with variations based on plan types
May cover transportation, meal delivery service, and lifestyle expenses
Rated 4.3 out of 5 by CMS
As a widely offered MA plan in Illinois, Humana is highly rated by 90% of its members. It offers superior customer service, generous coverage, and premium benefits. Members of Humana benefit from routine dental, vision, hearing, and prescription drug coverage. In most parts of the country, including Illinois, Humana offers the SilverSneakers Fitness program at no additional cost.
2. AARP by United Healthcare — best access to benefits
Available in all 50 states, with variations based on plan types
Provides dental, vision, hearing, and lifestyle benefits
Rated 5 out of 5 by CMS
AARP by United Healthcare is greatly valued by beneficiaries who use Medicare Advantage programs in Chicago, IL, and the surrounding areas. Regardless of budget, there is something for everyone with United Healthcare. Beneficiaries have access to all the benefits covered under Medicare Parts A and B, including dental, vision, hearing, and lifestyle.
3. Blue Cross Blue Shield — best access to doctors
Available in 50 states and Puerto Rico, with variations based on plan types
Offers dental, vision, hearing, and transportation coverage
Rated 4.17 out of 5 by CMS in the year 2023
Nothing is more convenient than having a health plan with a broad network because having access to all your doctors and specialists is extremely important. Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois offer comprehensive coverage in a wide network of providers and facilities, allowing most people to continue receiving care from the healthcare professionals they love the most.
There are 15 Blue Cross Blue Shield contracts for Medicare Advantage in Illinois. These generous contracts offer coverage packages that include dental, hearing, and vision services, leaving no doubt as to why many people choose this plan.
Comparing the top 3 Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois
This chart is an overview of how Illinois's top three Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois compare. Please note that each plan differs based on the offered zip code.
|AARP by United Healthcare
|Blue Cross Blue Shield
|Average monthly premium
|Average in-network out-of-pocket max
|Average annual drug deductible
|Number of contracts available
|Number of counties serviced
|Average CMS rating out of 5
|NCQA (based on quality and member experience)
|JD Powers (Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking 2022)
How we ranked the best Illinois Medicare Advantage plans
Our research considered multiple factors as we ranked the top three Illinois Medicare Advantage providers. These factors include the following:
- Nationwide availability. If you choose to travel, your health plan must be supported and accepted regardless of where you go. When health plans are available across multiple states, there is a higher chance you’ll be in good hands when away from home.
- Comprehensive coverage. As we ranked all the plans, we looked for more than the typical inpatient and outpatient services. We wanted to ensure beneficiaries of Medicare also chose a plan with great drug, dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Any health plans offering things like fitness programs made it to the short list of our favorites.
- Value. We wanted to ensure the plans in question were affordable yet comprehensive in the services and coverage they provide.
- Reviews. We also analyzed each health plan's reviews, testimonies, and rankings to understand how consumers feel about the plans they use.
- Cost. Many Medicare beneficiaries are retired and have a fixed income. Because of this, cost is a consideration when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
- CMS rating. CMS is an important rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This rating stands for compliance with Medicare and ensures health plans are operating at the highest standards.
Medicare Advantage in Illinois: things to know
Illinois has a large population aged 65 and older, and the state is home to many Medicare beneficiaries and Medicare Advantage plans. While the specific coverage options vary from plan to plan, it is a standard expectation to have Medicare Parts A and B to be included with your Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois.
Prescription drug coverage varies with MA plans in Illinois but plenty of plans will provide the basics to offset the cost of your prescriptions. Here are some facts to be mindful of during the plan selection process:
- In 2023, the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans is $11.95
- Illinois currently has 158 Medicare Advantage plans
- As a Medicare-eligible beneficiary, you can access Medicare Advantage plans with a $0 premium.
- Out-of-pocket costs range from $3,600 to $4,500, on average
What providers offer Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois
The list of Illinois Medicare Advantage plans is extensive, including 14 different carriers who offer many policies to choose from:
- Aetna Medicare
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL, NM
- Clear Springs Health
- Devoted Health
- Essence Healthcare
- Health Alliance Medicare
- HealthPartners UnityPoint Health
- Medical Associates Health Plan
- Molina Healthcare of Illinois
- Quarts Medicare Advantage
5-Star Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois
Overall, Illinois has a nice selection of Medicare Advantage programs in Chicago as well as other areas throughout the state. The highest 5-star rated Medicare Advantage plans are offered by the following insurance carriers:
- Essence Healthcare
- Health Partners
- United Healthcare
Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois: comparing different counties
Medicare Advantage plans differ nationwide and within any given state based on the county and zip code. We collected data on some counties that offer Medicare Advantage in Illinois to provide a snapshot of the type of availability, monthly premiums, and out-of-pocket maximums to expect.
|Number of residents enrolled in a plan
|Number of plan contracts available
|Number of plan contracts utilized
|Number of health insurance companies providing plans
|Health insurance companies providing plans
|Aetna Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL, NM Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Cigna Clear Spring Health Devoted Health Humana Molina Healthcare of Illinois UnitedHealthcare Wellcare Wellcare by Allwell
|Aetna Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL, NM Health Alliance Medicare Humana Molina Healthcare of Illinois UnitedHealthcare Wellcare WellFirst Health
|Aetna Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL, NM Health Alliance Medicare Humana Molina Healthcare of Illinois UnitedHealthcare WellFirst Health
|Average monthly premium of these plans
|Average monthly out-of-pocket maximum of these plans
What are the eligibility requirements for a Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois?
Some of the requirements you must meet to enroll into a Medicare Advantage in Illinois plan include:
Enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Before you qualify for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first qualify and be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
- Residency. It is also required that you live within the plan’s service area. Not all Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois are as encompassing as the three we’ve shortlisted. However, if you choose one of the three in this review, you will have greater flexibility in your place of residency.
- Not having end-stage renal disease. Most Medicare beneficiaries who have end-stage renal disease are qualified for Original Medicare only. This is due to the extent of services the beneficiary will require for their needs.
- Eligibility for Medicare due to age or disability. It is also important to qualify for Medicare. In other words, the individual must be 65, have a qualified special enrollment period opportunity, or have a qualifying disability and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for more than 24 months.
Enrolling during initial enrollment or the annual election period. Medicare beneficiaries can choose a Medicare Advantage plan during their initial enrollment period. This is when individuals first become qualified for Medicare. This enrollment period begins three months before they turn 65 and ends three months after. If a beneficiary qualifies for Medicare after they stop working after age 65, they can still enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Beneficiaries also have the option to choose or change their Medicare Advantage plan on an annual basis during the open enrollment season. This annual period runs from October 15 to December 7.
Choosing the best Medicare Advantage plan in Illinois
As you make your choice of an Illinois Medicare Advantage plan, ask yourself the following questions about your healthcare needs:
- What hospitals accept the plan you’re considering?
- Will your doctor be an in-network provider for this plan?
- Does the plan offer prescription drug coverage for your medications?
- Are preventative services offered?
- Can you get dental, hearing, vision services?
- What addition perks do they offer? (Such as fitness, wellness)
- Can you afford the monthly premiums, deductible, and out-of-pocket expenses?
As you answer these questions about health plans, you can narrow your search more seamlessly of the best advantage programs in Chicago, IL. Whether you choose Humana, AARP by United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, or another plan, this article can guide you and help you make the best decision for your healthcare.
Are Medicare Advantage plans available in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois has 158 plans under Medicare Advantage programs in Chicago, IL and throughout the state. Many plans are offered with a $0 premium cost and good coverage. You will no doubt find the plan that works best for you.
What is the best Medicare Advantage plan in 2024?
The highest-ranked Medicare Advantage plan for 2024 is currently Humana. However, the best plan for you will depend on your healthcare needs, what you can afford, and any additional services.
Where can I learn more about MA plans in Illinois?
You can visit several places online to learn more about the Medicare Advantage plans available in Illinois. These resources include Medicare.gov, the Illinois Department of Insurance, insurance providers’ websites, cms.gov, Medicare Advantage plan brochures, and medical facilities and providers.
- CMS.gov. 2023 Medicare Star Rating Fact Sheet.
- Medicare.gov. Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans.
- KFF.org. Medicare Advantage in 2023: Enrollment Update and Key Trends.
- CMS.gov. MA Landscape Source File.
- NCQA. Health Plan Report Cards.
- Medicare Plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plans Review.
- CMS.gov. MA Plan Directory.