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Best Medicare Plan for Cancer Patients: Top Options for 2024

Having the right Medicare plan can significantly reduce the cost of cancer treatment. This article examines our best Medicare carriers for cancer patients. These companies can prevent out-of-pocket costs by offering plans for individuals with specific needs and preferences. Whether it's chemotherapy, medication, radiation, routine appointments, or hospitalizations, these providers have policies to minimize costs.

Best Medicare plans for cancer coverage: shortlist

  1. Humana best cancer support
  2. Aetna best consultation
  3. UnitedHealthcare best online tools
  4. Wellcare best low-cost plans
  5. Cigna best outlook for company growth

Top Medicare providers for cancer patients in 2024: reviews

We've arranged a list of our best Medicare providers for cancer patients. Our list includes Humana, Aetna, United Healthcare, Wellcare, and Cigna.

These companies are highly reputable and pose their advantages as Medicare providers. We considered many factors, including the plans offered, coverage limitations, where to purchase, critical reception, and bonus coverage.

1. Humana — best cancer support

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Humana was featured in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Medicare Advantage Study, ranking companies based on customer satisfaction in five U.S. states (NY, CA, TX, PA, and FL). Humana was ranked as the top insurance provider in Florida and placed in the top three in all other states except Pennsylvania, where it ranked 7th. Its Medicare Advantage plans are available in every state, and it offers Medigap coverage in 49 states, so one can easily find the best Medigap plan for cancer patients.

Cancer patients can choose from many highly acclaimed coverage options, but its customer service separates Humana from the others. Humana provides the Humana Cancer Program, offering over-the-phone coaching with certified oncology nurses to help educate patients about their conditions and provide referrals to support groups. This company provides excellent coverage while connecting with members on a personal level.

2. Aetna — best consultation

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Aetna offers a variety of Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and drug plans. Like Humana, Aetna offers Resources for Life, a program to help policyholders cope with daily life. Aetna's Medicare Advantage plan policyholders can inquire about obtaining social support and help at home. This spares the individual from spending considerable time researching these services, as Resources for Life provides all necessary information at no cost. Cancer patients can benefit from this, as they may need more accommodations.

Aetna's prescription drug plans are also noteworthy. Part D plans include SilverScript Choice, SilverScript Plus, and SilverScript SmartSaver. These plans offer levels of coverage for medications, as well as the costs for premiums and deductibles.

3. UnitedHealthcare — best online tools

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

UnitedHealthcare added 1,039,099 new members from March 2022 to March 2023, making it the highest-growing company that year. UnitedHealthcare and Humana combined to account for nearly half of all new Medicare enrollees for that period. This company's status as a quality Medicare provider is also reflected in its renewals - 94% of those enrolled in Medicare through UnitedHealthcare renew their coverage.

This company makes obtaining coverage fast and easy. It allows policyholders to adjust the doctors on their plans and get insights into the monthly premium discounts they can qualify for. UnitedHealthcare also has Medicare experts available 24/7 via online chat to provide guidance when needed. UnitedHealthcare's Medicare Advantage plans are available in all 50 states, so anyone looking for Medicare Advantage coverage in any state can get it through UnitedHealthcare.

4. Wellcare — best low-cost plans

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Wellcare is a subsidiary of Centene Corporation. It provides budget-friendly options for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. Its Part D plans consist of Wellcare ValueScript, Wellcare Medicare Rx Value Plus, and Wellcare Classic. As for its Medicare Advantage plans, it offers such plan types as HMOs, PPOs, D-SNPs (for those dual-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid), and C-SNPs (special needs plans for those with chronic conditions). These options are great for cancer patients on a budget. Many of its Part D plans feature $0 copays for Tier 1 medications.

Wellcare provides Part D coverage in all 50 states. However, not all patients have access to Wellcare's Medicare Advantage plans. Its Medicare Advantage policies are only available in 36 states, so while affordable, they're not always attainable for all individuals.

5. Cigna — best outlook for company growth

Provider overview
On CoverRight Website

Cigna offers its Part D plans in all U.S. states and provides its Medicare Supplement plans in 48 states. However, Cigna's Medicare Advantage plans are limited in selection and availability. However, Cigna announced it will expand its Medicare Advantage coverage to 29 states in the coming year, potentially reaching 2.3 million new Medicare policyholders. As this company expands its outreach, more individuals will be able to access Cigna's benefits.

Individuals with cancer may find such Medicare Advantage features as the $0 24/7 telehealth support line helpful. Another benefit is the Cigna Health Today Card, which can be used to purchase necessities like groceries, meals, and supplies. Medications can also be delivered via mail with most of its drug plans, which can help individuals who cannot leave home.

Comparing the top Medicare companies for cancer patients

The following providers can be compared based on their available plans, best features, and limitations. Plans can vary per geographical service area. Research plans available in your specific zip code to compare plan benefits. This table provides a glance into those three factors for each company:

CompanyAvailable plansHighlighted featuresLimitations
HumanaMedicare Advantage (HMO, PPO, PFFS, D-SNP, C-SNP),
Medicare Part D, Medigap
Humana Cancer Program for those who need over-the-phone coachingLocation can impact which plans are available and how much they will cost
AetnaMedicare Advantage (HMO, HMO-POS, PPO, D-SNP),
Medicare Part D, Medigap
Resources for Life to help patients find accommodationsDoesn't offer C-SNPs; Medigap and Part D-only policyholders cannot access Resources for Life
UnitedHealthcareMedicare Advantage (HMO, PPO, HMO-POS, D-SNP),
Medicare Part D, Medigap
Ability to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan online within 10 minutes; online resources for adjustments and assistanceLimited SNP availability; may have higher out-of-pocket costs
WellcareMedicare Advantage (HMO, PPO, D-SNP, C-SNP)
Medicare Part D
Low-cost, budget-friendly Medicare Advantage and Part D plansMedicare Advantage plans only in 36 states
CignaMedicare Advantage (HMO, PPO, C-SNP for diabetics, I-SNP, D-SNP)
Medicare Part D, Medigap
Expanding to more service areas in the coming year; the Cigna Health Today Card covers certain everyday expensesMedicare Advantage plans only offered in 29 states in 2024; no C-SNPs for cancer patients

How we ranked the best Medicare plans for cancer patients

Our rankings focused on what each company had to offer and took the following into account when ranking the best Medicare plans for cancer patients.

  • Benefits. We considered additional benefits each company provided for its policyholders. Benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage, in combination with access to services that make life more convenient for the patient, played a significant role in how we ranked these companies.
  • J.D. Power rankings. These rankings represent an unbiased perspective of a company's true quality, and the companies listed here perform favorably compared to competitors.
  • Number of plans. Choices are empowering. Individuals undergoing cancer treatment seeking Medicare coverage from these companies can expect to find a plan that meets their needs.
  • Consumer reception. We took the perspective of existing policyholders into account. These companies have proven to be a success with professional reviewers and policyholders.

How much will cancer treatment cost with Medicare?

Cancer treatment can take place in inpatient and outpatient settings, and a patient may also have to take medication for managing their condition. This plays a role in which Medicare Part will be responsible for handling costs, and in turn, the out-of-pocket expenses a policyholder will incur.

How Medicare applies coverage and what the policyholder can expect to pay for services related to cancer treatment are as follows:

Treatment or service type
Part of Medicare responsible for coverageAmount of coverage provided (after deductible is met)Your out-of-pocket costsWill Medigap cover remaining out-of-pocket costs?
Inpatient chemotherapy and hospital staysAAll costs until policyholder has used up his or her lifetime reserve days (used after the 90th day in the hospital; policyholders have 60 lifetime reserve days)Nothing for first 60 days; $408 per day for days 61-90; $816 per lifetime reserve dayYes, as well as coinsurance costs up to 365 days after benefits have been used up; many also cover the Part A deductible
Chemotherapy (outpatient)B80% of Medicare allowed rate20% of Medicare allowed rateYes
Routine appointmentsB80% of Medicare allowed rate20% of Medicare allowed rateYes
Medications Part D; Some Medicare Advantage plans include this; Part A can cover medications if they were administered as part of inpatient careVaries based on plan and medication tier Varies based on plan and medication tierNo, but Medigap can cover medications is if they were administered as part of inpatient hospitalization (which would make this a Part A-related cost)

Which Medicare plan is best for cancer patients?

Individuals enrolling in Medicare may find themselves at a crossroads when choosing coverage aside from Medicare Parts A and B that best fits their needs as cancer patients. Such options include Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement plans, and Medicare Part D.

Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage bundles inpatient and outpatient coverage; many plans also cover prescription medications. Plans commonly cover dental, vision, hearing, and meal delivery services.

These plans have yearly out-of-pocket limits that vary depending on the plan. Many plans provide coverage within a network, but some allow policyholders to get out-of-network services at a higher cost. Cancer patients can benefit from Medicare Advantage due to the out-of-pocket maximum and the additional benefits plans typically provide.

Medicare supplement plans

Medicare Supplement plans, or Medigap, address out-of-pocket costs, and may eliminate or reduce the Part A deductible, Part A copayments and coinsurance costs, and Part B coinsurance. The extent of coverage depends on the plan. This could be a significant financial relief for cancer patients because even with Medicare coverage, out-of-pocket costs can still be overwhelming. However, you cannot have Medigap and Medicare Advantage together.

Medicare Part D plans

If you have original Medicare, you must join this for medication coverage. If you have Medicare Advantage, enrolling in Part D may not be necessary since many have built-in prescription drug coverage. Part D is sold through private insurers, and plans will differ in price, formularies (list of medications covered), and the coverage offered for specific medicines. Patients are encouraged to review the medications covered to find the best Medicare Part D plan for cancer patients.

What to know when choosing a Medicare plan for cancer patients

There are steps to take before choosing a Medicare plan. When taking the following into account, you will have the best chance of selecting the plan that is truly right for you.

  1. Verify if the plan has a provider network. If a plan has a network, check to see if your physician is in the plan's network. If not, you may need to change doctors.
  2. See if the plan includes prescription drug coverage. Some plans automatically include drug coverage. If your plan does, ensure it covers your prescribed medications.
  3. Check for benefits relevant to cancer patients. Certain benefits can make daily life much easier; some plans include benefits to help cancer patients.
  4. Pick a reputable insurer. Check the policies available in your area. Consider reading online reviews, assessing plan coverage options, and comparing rates.

As cancer treatment costs continue upward, it has become increasingly critical for Medicare-eligible patients to choose the right Medicare provider. The companies mentioned in this article provide Medicare policies that make cancer treatment affordable while featuring benefits that make them stand out.


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