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 Many of these beneficiaries have AARP-branded plans provided by United Healthcare.
United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans have an average Medicare Star Rating of 3.6 out of 5.2 Since 74% of enrollees have a plan with four stars or higher,3 however, that rating might not be high enough to motivate people to switch to United Healthcare. That said, 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 with an average Medicare Star Rating of 3.6 out of 5,4 but not all plans are available in all areas. We sampled plans in areas across the country and found the following types of plans:
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
- Health Maintenance Organization with drug coverage (HMO-PDP)
- Health Maintenance Organization Point-of-Sale (HMO POS)
- Local and regional Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
- A variety of Special Needs Plans (SNPs)
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 sample plans
|Primary care visit|
AARP MedicareComplete SecureHorizons Essential (HMO)*
MedicareComplete Choice (PPO)*
Erickson Advantage Freedom (HMO-POS)**
Medicare Gold (Regional PPO SNP)*
|Los Angeles, CA 90072||Columbus, OH 43230||Charlotte, NC 28266||Atlanta, GA 30312|
|$4,900||In network: $4,500||$3,900||In network: $6,700|
|Must stay in network||Lower costs for in-network services||Lower costs for in-network services||Lower costs for in-network services|
|Get started||Get started||Get started||Get started|
*Sample plans based on aarpmedicareplans.com and are for illustration purposes only. Actual plans may vary. Data effective 4/17/19.
**Sample plans based on medicare.gov and are for illustration purposes only. Actual plans may vary. Data effective 4/17/19.
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 the following:
- Drug coverage: AARP MedicareComplete Plan 1 (HMO) and AARP MedicareComplete Plan 2 (HMO)
- Dental coverage: AARP MedicareComplete Essential (HMO) and AARP MedicareComplete Plan 2 (HMO)
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.
United Healthcare MedicareComplete Choice (Regional PPO) includes preventative dental coverage only. Meanwhile, United Healthcare MedicareComplete Assure (PPO) includes comprehensive dental coverage, a fitness membership, over-the-counter benefits, and transportation coverage.
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:
- D-SNPs: for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (known as “dual eligibles”)
- I-SNPs: for people living in institutions such as nursing homes, assisted care, and mental institutions
- 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.
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 Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Part C and D Performance Data”
2 Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage”
3 Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage”
4 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2018 Star Ratings and Display Measures”
Disclaimer: 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.