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3 Top Reasons Medicare Star Ratings Are Important

By Lindsay Malzone January 13, 2021 Health and Fitness

Whether it’s Medicare Advantage or Part D star ratings, knowing how plans stack up next to each other is important. Medicare star ratings can give you an idea of how others felt about the policy, and they can help you see how policies perform in various categories.

Also, star ratings make it easier for you to choose a higher quality policy. Now, while star ratings are helpful, they aren’t everything.

You’ll want a plan that covers your doctors and your prescriptions. Don’t solely base your decision on a high rating. But, if you can’t decide between two great plans, star rating could play an important role in which option you choose.

What Are Star Ratings, and What Do They Indicate?

Star ratings measure the quality of coverage from a policy – the lower the star rating, the lower the plan’s performance.

Here are the star ratings and their meanings:

  • 5-star plans are excellent
  • 4-star plans are above average
  • 3-star plans are average
  • 2-star plans are below average
  • 1-star plans are low-quality

But why are these star ratings important and how can you apply this to your search for the best policy? Well, let’s get into that.

The Top 3 Reasons Medicare Star Ratings Are Important

There are many reasons for looking into Medicare star ratings, but here we will discuss the top three.

#1 See How Others Rated the Plan You’re Thinking About Joining

Reviews are popular because we want to know how others experience something first. One of the easiest ways to identify if the plan is high quality is other members’ satisfaction. If every person on the policy complains about doctor networks, it’s safe to say you can expect the same issues.

If plenty of others on the policy say customer service is beyond excellent, you can expect, if any problems arise, the company will find a solution. Plans with consistent high ratings get a bonus, so as you can imagine, most of these plans work hard to please their members.

Discover How Plans Perform in Various Categories

Medicare Advantage and Part D have different subcategories for ratings. It makes sense that these options would have other measures for star ratings since Part D doesn’t cover medical services, and Medicare Advantage plans don’t always cover medications.

Medicare Advantage plans measure if members are staying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member experience, customer service, and member complaints. They even look at changes in the performance of the plan.

For Part D, categories include customer service, member experience, member complaints, and changes to the plan’s performance. It also measures the safety and accuracy of the drugs on the policy.

Ability to Choose High-Quality Coverage

There is a reason that 5-star Medicare Advantage plans have a year-round Special Enrollment Period. They are top quality, and beneficiaries should have top-notch coverage access.

Now, 5-star plans aren’t available in every county, so you may only find a 4-star or 4.5-star policy in some cases. That is still a good option – it’s the plans that are consistently low-performing that you want to avoid. Medicare’s website provides an indicator showing which plans fall into the underperforming category.

Why Is It Important to Choose a Plan with Higher Star Ratings?

Higher star ratings can indicate more than quality customer service. When you choose a top-performing policy, you know that plan gets extra money from the government to spend on your medical costs. Most times, these plans include ancillary benefits like dental, vision, hearing, and gym memberships.

Before you register, remember to check several things: is your doctor in-network? Will your drugs have coverage? Are you comfortable with the copayments and plan limitations? If you can answer yes to all these questions, you may have found the best plan for you.

Once you decide on the plan for you, you’re ready to enroll. You can sign up for a policy online through Medicare’s website, or you can call the carrier directly.

Have you heard of Medicare star ratings? What do you look at when enrolling in your plan? Do you ever consider others’ opinion important? Can you share a personal experience story how Medicare star ratings affected your enrollment decision? Please use the comment box below.

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The Author

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare space since 2017. Lindsay has a passion for sharing her expertise on Medicare to beneficiaries so they can be better prepared for healthcare costs after retirement. Her YouTube channel features various videos that help Medicare beneficiaries discover all their options.

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