Medicare plans receive star ratings each year on a scale from one to five. These star plans are ranked using survey information from Medicare plans, plan members, and providers. A ranking of one star reflects a poor plan, while a plan with five stars reflects an excellent plan.
Categories Covered in Star Rating
Health plan ratings cover 36 different topics in five categories. These categories are:
- Staying healthy: screenings, tests, and vaccines.
- Managing chronic (long-term) conditions.
- Plan responsiveness and care.
- Member complaints, problems getting services, and choosing to leave the plan.
- Health plan customer service.
By using these star ratings you can have an easy way of judging a plan’s caliber. Five-star plans also come with a special enrollment period that lasts from December 8 to November 30 of the following year before the star update in the fall.
Star Plans SEP
During the five-star SEP, you can only switch to a five star rated Medicare plan one time. During the period, you can:
- Dis-enroll from Original Medicare (Part A and B) and enroll in a five-star plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to a five-star rated Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch from a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to a five-star rated stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
- Change from a five-star rated Medicare Advantage plan to a different five-star rated Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch from a five-star rated Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan to a different five-star rated Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.
- Dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and enroll in a five-star rated Medicare Cost Plan.*
How To Find Out if a Plan is Five Stars?
Plans that fall into this category are identified with a icon. These health and drug plans can be found on the Medicare.gov website. You can also call 1800-MEDICARE or even use the Medicare & You handbook. Be sure to check the book for being outdated since plans are updated each fall. Your agent will be able to help you discern if a plan is five-stars and if a switch is something you should consider. These plans could offer you not only a Medicare.gov approved plan but also a high-quality one approved in important categories.
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