United Healthcare Medicare Advantage Review

Kat Casna
Licensed Insurance Agent and Medicare Expert Writer
December 13, 2019

United Healthcare serves more Medicare Advantage enrollees than any other Medicare health insurance company—one in four Medicare Advantage program beneficiaries enrolled with this insurer.1,2,3 Many of these beneficiaries have AARP-branded plans provided by United Healthcare. Nationwide availability means you could find a United Healthcare plan near you.

Is a United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan right for you?

United Healthcare offers a variety of plans, each with its own advantages. People who find these plans appealing may fall into the following groups:

  • People with special needs: United Healthcare offers a wide array of Special Needs Plans (SNPs).
  • People who want to go out of network: All plans include a network of providers, but many plans also include options for going out of network at a higher cost.
  • AARP members: United Healthcare provides AARP-branded Medicare Advantage plans (though you don’t need to be a member to enroll in one).
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United Healthcare Medicare Advantage policies

United Healthcare serves the entire nation,4 but not all plans are available in all areas. United Healthcare offers the following types of plans (each of which may include drug coverage):5

Some of United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans go under different brand names, such as AARP, SecureHorizons, and Erickson. These brand names seem to vary by area, which may cause some confusion, but you can use the Medicare.gov plan finder to determine ownership of any plan.

United Healthcare Medicare HMO plans

Many United Healthcare HMO plans carry the AARP brand and require beneficiaries to stay in network, choose a primary care physician (PCP), and get a referral to see a specialist.

In addition to everything Original Medicare covers, some of these plans may offer hearing, vision, and travel coverage. Covered services may also include video “doctor visits,” a nurse hotline, caregiving support, and a fitness membership.

Certain plans include additional coverage, such as drug or dental coverage (sometimes for an additional premium).

United Healthcare Medicare PPO plans

Unlike HMO plans, PPOs allow enrollees to receive care out of network at a higher cost. Many of United Healthcare’s PPOs offer drug coverage, hearing coverage, in-home monitoring, caregiving support, vision coverage, video “doctor visits,” and access to a nursing hotline.

AARP MedicareAdvantage Choice (PPO) includes preventative and comprehensive dental coverage. It also includes hearing benefits, vision benefits, and a fitness membership through Renew Active.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare SNPs

Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) cater to people in several specific situations. While many companies offer an SNP or two in limited locations, UnitedHealthcare carries multiple plans in all three SNP categories:

  1. D-SNPs: for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (known as “dual eligible”)
  2. I-SNPs: for people living in institutions such as nursing homes, assisted care, and mental institutions
  3. C-SNPs: for people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
1. UnitedHealthcare D-SNPs

The D in D-SNP stands for “dual,” as in dual eligible. These plans come with drug coverage, over-the-counter benefits, and low or $0 copayments to see a physician. Some plans also cover fitness programs, hearing aids, dental and vision benefits, transportation costs, and alternative care such as video “doctor visits” and a nurse hotline.

United Healthcare’s D-SNPs include the following:

  • United Healthcare Dual Complete (HMO SNP)
  • United Healthcare Dual Complete Choice (Regional PPO SNP)
  • United Healthcare Dual Complete (PPO SNP)
2. United Healthcare I-SNPs

United Healthcare’s I-SNPs typically cater to people living in nursing or assisted living facilities (the I stands for “institutional”). These plans come with hearing, vision, and transportation coverage, as well as over-the-counter benefits. Some plans also include dental coverage. All plans include drug coverage.

United Healthcare’s I-SNPs include the following:

  • United Healthcare Nursing Home Plan (HMO SNP)
  • United Healthcare Nursing Home Plan (PPO SNP)
  • United Healthcare Assisted Living Plan (HMO-POS SNP)
  • Erickson Advantage Guardian (HMO-POS SNP)
3. United Healthcare C-SNPs

Many of United Healthcare’s C-SNPs cater to people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular issues. “Chronic” is what the C in C-SNP stands for. These plans typically cover hearing, dental, and vision benefits and may include additional benefits such as caregiving support, access to a nurse hotline, and in-home monitoring.

United Healthcare’s C-SNPs include the following types:

  • United Healthcare Medicare Gold (Regional PPO SNP)
  • United Healthcare Medicare Silver (Regional PPO SNP)
  • Locally branded plans such as Erickson Advantage Champion (HMO-POS)

Bottom line: United Healthcare offers numerous options for Medicare Advantage coverage.

Meanwhile, nationwide availability means you’re likely to find a plan in your area.

If you’re looking at United Healthcare for a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have a variety of choices in your area. You may see several HMO and PPO options, as well as options like HMO-POS plans and SNPs.

Of course, not all plans have availability in all areas, so find out which plans you can enroll in and get a quote with our licensed sales agents today.

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Want to learn more?

If you have more questions about United Healthcare, Medicare Advantage, or other parts of Medicare, check out our other helpful pages to keep learning.

United Healthcare FAQ

When can I switch to a United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan?

If you’re switching to a Medicare Advantage plan from Original Medicare, you’ll need to do that during fall open enrollment (October 15 through December 7 annually) or a special enrollment period.

If you’re already enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program and want to change to a different plan, you can do so during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP). This period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year and replaces the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).

What’s the best type of Medicare Advantage plan for me?

The right plan depends on your situation. Many people choose a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), but don’t be afraid to compare Medicare Advantage plans for yourself.

What’s the difference between the Medicare Advantage program and Medicare Supplement insurance?

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) is supplemental insurance you can buy to help cover costs Original Medicare doesn’t, such as Part A and B deductibles and copayments.

Medicare Advantage is a single, all-in-one plan that covers everything Original Medicare covers (such as hospital stays, hospice services, and doctor visits). Many Medicare Advantage plans add extras such as prescription drug, vision, and dental coverage too. Read more about choosing Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement.


1  Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage
2  Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Part C and D Performance Data
3  Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage
4  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2018 Star Ratings and Display Measures
5  AARP Medicare, "Compare Medicare Advantage Plans"

Content on this site has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the United States Government, any state Medicare agency, or any private insurance agency (collectively "Medicare System Providers"). Eligibility.com is a DBA of Clear Link Technologies, LLC and is not affiliated with any Medicare System Providers.

Kat Casna
Written by
Kat Casna
Kathryn is a Medicare and geriatric specialist who has appeared on Baby Boomers, OppLoans, and Best Company. Her readers don’t need a degree in government-speak to get the right coverage because Kathryn sifts through Medicare’s parts, plans, and premiums to distill only the most useful information. Her favorite place in the world is a hammock that swings peacefully between two crabapple trees somewhere in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest.
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