To compare Medicare plans you’ll want to compare cost-sharing, networks, additional benefits like vision and dental, and drug plans.

Beyond that, you can also compare plans by insurer, premium, and evenĀ CMS star ratings.

You can compare one Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan to another by these metrics, or you can use these metrics to compare Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to an Advantage plan. You can also use most of these metrics to compare Medicare drug plans as well whether you are comparing a standalone Part D plan or a drug plan offered by an Advantage plan.

Generally speaking:

  • Cost-sharing describes your share of costs of services and supplies. Original Medicare has set cost-sharing, while Part C offers alternative cost-sharing providing better coverage of things like deductibles, coinsurance, copays, etc. Meanwhile, for drug plans, cost-sharing describes your share of costs for drugs. You can compare drug plans by cost-sharing during each phase for each drug tier.
  • Networks for health plans describe where you can use the plan. Original Medicare can be used at any provider that takes Medicare, while Part C plans often have specific provider networks. In general, a drug formulary, or list of covered drugs, is also important to compare as well if comparing drug plans.
  • Additional benefits like dental and vision are often offered by Part C plans, but aren’t covered by Original Medicare. You can compare which benefits a plan covers, and you can compare cost-sharing on these plans as well.
  • You can compare insurers if you want as well, some people may prefer one insurer over another and this may influence your plan choice.
  • Each Part C and Part D plan has a unique premium. Premiums generally relate back to benefits and cost-sharing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth comparing premiums as well.
  • Lastly, star ratings can help you make a choice when comparing plans. If you have to choose between a five-star plan and one with a lower rating, you may for example consider the five-star Medicare plan.

You can use our site to easily compare all of these metrics, but these are the main things to look for.