A Medicare Advantage (MA) plan is health insurance offered by private insurance companies bound by Medicare rules and provides Medicare Part A and B coverage and, frequently, Part D drug coverage. They often offer additional benefits such as routine hearing, vision, dental exams, and fitness club memberships.
Plan availability varies by zip code and county. Discover the best Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland (MD) and their coverage, average costs, and ratings. Here, we rank our top-rated MA plans in Maryland.
Maryland Medicare Advantage plans: things to know
In most cases, Medicare Advantage Plans provide everything covered by your Medicare Part A and B services as well as Part D and additional benefits. You may select an MA plan regardless of your pre-existing health conditions. You might need to choose a new health provider if your health provider joins or leaves your MA plan, which can happen at any time during the year. By using your in-network health services, you can save costs.
- MA plan service area is based on your Maryland county and zip code
- All Medicare-eligible Maryland residents have access to an MA plan with a $0 premium plan
- Average consolidated monthly premium of Maryland MA plans (excluding $0 premiums): $74.65
- Average Annual Drug Deductible of Maryland MA plans (excluding $0 deductibles): $269.91
- Average In-Network max out-of-pocket amount: $7,378.62
- Medicare mandates that the max OOP amount for MA Plans is $8,300 although most plans have lower amounts
- Average Overall Star Rating: 4.02
What providers offer Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland
Medicare Advantage may offer various models of health insurance plans in Maryland, such as HMO, PPO, and MSA. To learn more about each model of MA plan, read Best Medicare Advantage Plans. HMO and PPO plans are the most commonly offered.
These are the nine providers offering MA plans in Maryland in 2023. They are listed alphabetically along with the number of contracts each provider offers:
- Aetna Medicare – 3
- Alterwood Advantage – 76
- CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Medicare Advantage – 18
- Cigna – 7
- Humana – 47
- John Hopkins Advantage MD – 39
- Kaiser Permanente – 44
- Lasso Healthcare – 48
- UnitedHealthcare – 42
This chart provides detailed cost and CMS star ratings on the MA plans available in Maryland in 2023.
|Avg. Monthly Premium||Avg. Annual Drug Deductible||Avg. Overall Star Rating||Avg. In-Network Max-Out-of-Pocket Cost|
|Alterwood Advantage||$80||$0||Too new to be measured||$8,300|
|CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Medicare Advantage||$54.27||$0||2.5||$7,800|
|John Hopkins Advantage MD||$92.10||$0||3||$7,550|
*Lasso Healthcare is not listed above because the data is not included in CMS 2023. Lasso offers Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans, which operate differently than HMO or PPO plans.
Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland: comparing different counties
Maryland contains 23 counties and Baltimore City (considered on par with county jurisdiction) and is home to more than six million residents. Almost 17% of Marylanders are aged 65+. The chart below shows cost averages and the number of plans available for four counties with a large growth increase in populations aged 65+.
|Charles County||Howard County||Baltimore City||Anne Arundel County|
|Percent of pop. aged 65+||13.9%||15.4%||15.7%||16.2%|
|Avg. Monthly Premium (Excluding $0 )||$70||$70||$65.78||$64.85|
|Number of MA Plan Providers||4||8||6||8|
|Most Popular Carriers||Alterwood Advantage, Kaiser Permanente, Lasso Healthcare, United Healthcare||John Hopkins Advantage MD, Kaiser Permanente, Alterwood Advantage, UnitedHealthcare||Kaiser Permanente, Alterwood Advantage||John Hopkins Advantage MD, Kaiser Permanente, Alterwood Advantage, UnitedHealthcare|
|Number of Contracts available||13||22||15||23|
|Avg. Max in-network-out-of-pocket costs||$7,427.27||$7,545.00||$7,665.39||$7,616.67|
|Avg. Annual drug deductible||$261.67||$271.25||$295||$261.67|
5-star Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland list
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage on a star rating system based on five main categories comprising 38 quality measures. These ratings are reviewed annually and updated on CMS.gov. Each category is rated on a scale of 1–5 stars, with one being the worst and five the best.
Nationwide, about 78% of MA Plan beneficiaries were enrolled in a plan rated four or more stars in 2023. MA Plans rated four or five are considered “excellent.”
The CMS Star rating categories include:
- Staying healthy: screenings, tests and vaccines
- Managing chronic (long term) conditions
- Member experiences with health plan
- Member complaints and changes in the health plan’s performance
- Health plan customer service
The 2023 CMS 5-star Medicare Advantage providers and specific contracts in Maryland are:
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage High MD (HMO-POS)
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Liberty (HMO)
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Standard MD (HMO-POS)
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Value Balt (HMO)
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Value MD (HMO)
- Erickson Advantage Freedom (HMO-POS)
- Erickson Advantage Liberty with Drugs (HMO-POS)
- Erickson Advantage Liberty without Drugs (HMO-POS)
- Erickson Advantage Signature with Drugs (HMO-POS)
What are the eligibility requirements for a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland?
To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland, you must be a Medicare beneficiary with Part A and B coverage, not enrolled in Medigap, and live within the service area of your chosen MA plan. You are not required to answer any health questions before enrollment except if you have end-stage renal disease and cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing health condition.
To be a Medicare beneficiary, you must:
- Qualify to receive Social Security (or Rail Road Retirement) benefits by having worked for at least 10 years while paying Medicare and Social Security taxes
- Be at least 65 or have a qualifying disease or disability for earlier enrollment
When to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland
You may sign up for, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage plan during set enrollment periods. These include:
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) when you turn 65. This is a seven-month window surrounding your 65th birthday, during which time you have the option to enroll. To join an MA plan, you need to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period occurs from January 1 – March 31 every year and during the first three months when you initially get Medicare. If you’re already an MA plan member, you may switch to a different MA plan or drop your MA plan and go back to Original Medicare.
- Special Enrollment Period dates vary. This period exists to accommodate life changes, such as if you move, lose other insurance coverage, or start receiving Medicaid.
Choosing the best Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland
When choosing the best MA plan, consider these questions to help you obtain the right coverage. If your needs change, you can change MA plans or switch to Original Medicare at set times throughout the year.
- Plan Network. Are your doctors and specialists in-network?
- Cost. What will the plan cost? Consider the monthly premium, drug cost, deductibles, co-pays/coinsurance, and max out-of-pocket costs.
- Benefits. What are the additional perks and benefits?
- Medications. Are my prescription medications covered?
- Utilization. How often do you plan to use your benefits?
- Coverage area. Will you be traveling often?
Medicare.gov offers a plan comparison tool that many people find useful: Medicare’s plan finding tool.
Resources about Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland
These free Maryland State programs provide assistance in choosing the right health coverage:
Maryland State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a state program that offers free and confidential local health insurance counseling to people with Medicare coverage. These programs are paid with federal government money and are independent of any insurance company. Visit the Maryland State Health Insurance Assistance Program or call 1-800-243-3425.
The Maryland Association of Area Agencies on Aging provides free counseling services regarding insurance benefits. They also offer various programs focused on maintaining health and independence for people aged 60+. Visit this online directory to find your local Maryland county for assistance.
The Maryland Insurance Administration publishes tips and guides to better understand Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Plans in other states
Who is the biggest Medicare Advantage provider in Maryland?
The biggest Medicare Advantage provider in Maryland is Alterwood Advantage with 76 contracts available in 19 counties. Atlterwood Advantage has HMO and HMO-SNP plans available. They also have a State of Maryland Medicaid contract. John Hopkins Advantage MD and Kaiser Permanente also offer broad service areas in Maryland.
What is the best Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland?
The best overall Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland is Kaiser Permanente considering its top-notch 5-star CMS quality ratings, affordability with a $0 annual drug deductible option, and good network coverage. They also offer optional benefits like dental, hearing aids, and eyewear.
Is Kaiser senior advantage the same as Medicare Advantage?
Yes, Kaiser Senior Advantage is one of the Medicare Advantage plans offered in Maryland by Kaiser Permanente. It is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan utilizing a closed network of providers. You have the option to choose your own doctor from the Kaiser network.
What is the average cost of Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland?
Some costs to consider having a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland are monthly premium, annual drug deductible, and max out-of-pocket costs. The averages for those costs in Maryland are the average consolidated monthly premium (excluding $0 premiums): $74.65, average annual deductible (excluding $0 deductibles): $269.91, and average in-network max out-of-pocket amount: $7,378.62.
- Medicare. Your Coverage Options.
- Medicare. Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans.
- CMS. 2023 MA Landscape Source File.
- CMS. 2023 Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings.
- Census. Census Quick Facts.