The Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Texas

Searching for the best Medicare Advantage plans in Texas? Plan availability and costs are determined by the county you live in. Locate your county to discover how many plan options are available and plan costs.

What are Medicare Advantage Plans?

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, also referred to as Medicare Part C, are an alternative way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Most Medicare Advantage plans include vision coverage and dental coverage. Some plans also provide enrollees innovative benefits such as wellness and healthcare planning, reduced cost-sharing, and rewards and incentive programs. These are plan benefits that Original Medicare (Parts A & B), alone, do not provide. 

Based on your county service area, you could have a few options for Medicare Advantage plans or an overwhelming number of options—like 55 in Harris County. The table below highlights how many options might be available to you—depending on where you live. 

Read more about the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans in Texas, how much plans may cost, and when to enroll.

[Table] 2021 Number of Medicare Advantage Plans for Top 20 Texas Counties

Texas County Most Populous City Number of Plans Available
Harris County Houston 55
Dallas County Dallas 50
Bexar County San Antonio 46
Tarrant County Fort Worth 45
Travis County Austin 26
El Paso County El Paso 38
Collin County Plano 47
Hidalgo County McAllen 29
Denton County Denton 46
Fort Bend County Sugar Land 48
Montgomery County Conroe 47
Williamson County Round Rock 36
Cameron County Brownsville 27
Nueces County Corpus Christi 24
Galveston County League City 39
Bell County Killeen 20
Brazoria County Pearland 29
Lubbock County Lubbock 18
Smith County Tyler 17
McLennan County Waco 21

Where are Medicare Advantage Plans Most Popular in Texas?

Medicare Advantage plans help you control costs and have extra benefits. No wonder they are a popular choice for older Americans in Texas and across the United States. As of June 2021, 42% of all U.S. Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. 

In Texas, 45% of Medicare beneficiaries chose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2021. The average enrollment in Texas is a bit higher than the national average. Wondering what percentage of older Americans are enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan in your county? 

In 2021, the 10 Texas counties with the highest Medicare Advantage enrollment are El Paso County (66%), Hidalgo County (64%), San Patricio County (59%), Starr County (58%), Nueces County (58%), Cameron County (58%), Willacy County (57%), Kleberg County (57%), Zavala County (56%), and Jim Wells County (56%). 

These counties are all well above the national and Texas state averages for Medicare Advantage plan enrollment. The table below shows the counties with the most Medicare beneficiaries, along with the population and percentage of Medicare Advantage enrollment. Scroll down to see if your county is listed. 

[Table] Top 20 Most Populous Medicare-Eligible Texas Counties & Medicare Advantage Plan Enrollment

Texas County Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries Medicare Advantage Enrollment (Population) Medicare Advantage Enrollment (Percentage)
Harris County 567,107 299,573 53 percent
Dallas County 328,145 150,023 46 percent
Bexar County 303,158 155,334 51 percent
Tarrant County 282,260 142,398 50 percent
Travis County 142,516 52,899 37 percent
El Paso County 133,543 88,395 66 percent
Collin County 125,973 45,656 36 percent
Hidalgo County 107,901 68,517 64 percent
Denton County 104,647 40,635 39 percent
Fort Bend County 102,485 47,916 47 percent
Montgomery County 94,298 42,918 46 percent
Williamson County 84,176 32,459 39 percent
Cameron County 65,501 37,947 58 percent
Nueces County 61,465 35,621 58 percent
Galveston County 59,089 25,051 42 percent
Bell County 54,382 22,143 41 percent
Brazoria County 52,984 24,034 45 percent
Lubbock County 47,615 21,303 45 percent
Smith County 46,900 18,148 39 percent
McLennan County 45,533 19,926 44 percent

How Much Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cost in Texas?

The lowest monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan is $0. In 2021, the average monthly Medicare Advantage premium for those with a premium is $11.42. For Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans nationwide, the premiums vary by plan type. 

In 2020, the Kaiser Family Foundation noted that premiums average $20 per month for HMOs, $32 per month for a local PPO, and $47 per month for regional PPOs. Nearly 61% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries enrolled in an HMO, 33% were in local PPOs, while only 5% were enrolled in regional PPO plans. 

When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage or MAPD plan, you’ll be responsible for out-of-pocket costs, including premiums, health and prescription drug coverage deductibles, and copays. You’ll continue to pay your Original Medicare Part B premium to Medicare or by a monthly withdrawal from your Social Security Benefit. Medicare Advantage and MAPD premiums are paid directly to the plan provider. 

Plan costs vary widely and are subject to the county in which you live. Below you’ll find a table with the top 20 most populous Medicare-eligible Texas counties.

Review the table to see how many Medicare Advantage plans with a $0 premium are available in each county, the plan premium range, the annual Part D deductible range, and the maximum out-of-pocket maximum per year.

Are you not sold on a Medicare Advantage plan? Are you considering keeping Original Medicare Parts A & B but need a plan to cover the unpredictability of out-of-pocket costs? Read more about Medigap plans.

[Table] Average Medicare Advantage Plan Costs in the Top 20 Counties in Texas

Texas County Number of Plans With $0 Premium Plan Premium Range Annual Part D Drug Deductible Range In-Network Out-of-Pocket Maximum per Year Range
Harris County 36 $10 - $199 $100 - $445 $2,600 - $7,550
Dallas County 32 $10 - $200 $150 - $445 $2,500 - $7.550
Bexar County 32 $10 - $96 $150 - $445 $2,999 - $7,550
Tarrant County 27 $10 - $200 $150 - $445 $2,500 - $7,550
Travis County 16 $15 - $93 $175 - $445 $2,999 - $7,550
El Paso County 27 $10 - $96 $175 - $445 $2.900 - $7,550
Collin County 29 $10 - $200 $175 - $445 $2,500 - $7,550
Hidalgo County 18 $10 - $96 $175 - $445 $2,000 - $7,550
Denton County 29 $10 - $200 $150 - $445 $2,500 - $7,550
Fort Bend County 32 $10 - $96 $100 - $445 $2,999 - $7,550
Montgomery County 32 $10 - $93 $100 - $445 $2,999 - $7,550
Williamson County 19 $14 - $242 $50 - $445 $2,999 - $7,550
Cameron County 16 $10 - $96 $175 - $445 $3,400 - $7,550
Nueces County 13 $10 - $96 $175 - $445 $2,999 - $7,550
Galveston County 26 $10 - $93 $100 - $445 $3,000 - $7,550
Bell County 9 $37 - $242 $50 - $395 $4,500 - $7,550
Brazoria County 19 $10 - $93 $100 - $395 $3,000 - $7,550
Lubbock County 9 $10 - $96 $175 - $445 $3,450 - $7,550
Smith County 9 $20 - $93 $150 - $395 $4,400 - $7,200
McLennan County 9 $10 - $242 $50 - $395 $4,500 - $7,550

What Are Your Medicare Advantage Plan Options in Texas?

In Texas, there are two primary types of Medicare Advantage plans; either a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). HMOs and PPOs use networks of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. 

Both plan types are available through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. To be eligible for a Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B and live in the plan’s service area. For both plans, prescription drug coverage is usually included, and plans may have preferred pharmacy networks. 

Learn more about your Medicare options, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, and how to apply for Medicare in Texas.

What is the Best Medicare Advantage Plan in Texas?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all or “best” Medicare Advantage plan in Texas or anywhere in the U.S. If there’s a source telling you there is, they aren’t looking out for what’s best for your health and finances. Your Medicare health plan choice will come down to a mix of cost and benefits—and should be tailored to your needs.

If the lowest premium possible is your primary concern, then a Medicare Advantage HMO plan might be the best health insurance choice for you. Your costs are generally lower than a PPO. However, if having maximum flexibility is most important, you may choose a Medicare Advantage PPO with slightly higher costs.

While determining which is essential, you’ll also want to weigh whether maintaining existing relationships with doctors, hospitals, or other care providers is vital to your health care. You’ll want to check if your preferred healthcare providers are participating in the Medicare Advantage plan’s network before committing.

There is a lot to consider. Do you need help ensuring that you pick a plan that’s the right mix of costs and benefits or ensuring you have access to existing providers and prescriptions? Have a local Medicare agent guide you through the process.

Speak with a local Medicare agent to find a Medicare Advantage plan that’s the optimal fit for your budget and health needs. Schedule a time to speak with an agent, or call (623) 223-8884.

The Medicare Advantage Star Rating System

Did you know that every Medicare Advantage plan is rated annually? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) Star Ratings every year.

The Star Rating system measures the quality of health and prescription drug services received by Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the plans. The plans are measured by five categories, on a scale of 1 to 5—with 5 being the best: customer service, preventative care, managing chronic conditions, plan responsiveness, and member complaints, including those when leaving the plan. The Star Rating system can help narrow your Medicare plan choices.

Approximately 49 percent of Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans earned four stars or higher for their 2021 overall rating. That means that about 77 percent of MA-PD are currently enrolled in a plan that has four or more stars in 2021.

Make sure you choose a plan with a high Star Rating and the right mix for your budget and health. A local Medicare agent can ensure that you get all that while maintaining relationships with your doctors and the prescription drugs you depend on.

Schedule a call with a local agent or call (623) 223-8884 to find the “best” plan—tailored to you. 

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