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Healthcare insurers have been rolling out their new Medicare Advantage offerings and are touting benefits that range from cost to ease of access, ahead of open enrollment starting October 15.

UnitedHealthcare, for example, will expand its coverage area and reach 96% of all Medicare consumers, the insurer said in a statement this week.

For its 2024 Individual Medicare Advantage plans, the company is highlighting its UnitedHealthcare UCard, billed as an all-in-one access point for members to use their benefits, either on the UHC website or on its mobile app. It includes the standard features of a traditional health ID card, with the added perk that members can use their UCard to check in at any network provider’s office or pharmacy and can spend earned rewards in-store or online.

The UCard hub will provide real-time access to available balances and a store locator.

As for UHC’s standard Medicare Advantage plans, they’ll offer dental coverage including no annual deductible and $0 copays up to the plan’s annual maximum on preventive services, ranging from cleanings to x-rays and root canals. They will also offer hearing and vision coverage for more than 2,000 hearing aids and devices not covered by Original Medicare, with new coverage for OTC devices added in 2024. Per device copays will start at $99 and go up to $1,249.

According to UHC, most members will have stability in specialist and pharmacy copays, plus prescription drug coverage, and all members will have stable maximum out-of-pocket costs year over year, with many even seeing a lower maximum out-of-pocket.

All standard Medicare Advantage plans will offer $0 copays for virtual visits, mammograms and colonoscopies and routine dental, vision and hearing exams.


Insurer UCare, meanwhile, has reduced premiums across its Medicare portfolio by an average of $14 per month, added a $39 per month Medicare Part B premium giveback, expanded service area to UCare Your Choice plans and increased the network-free flexible allowance for dental care, eyewear and hearing aids.

In 2024, UCare Your Choice plans – which UCare said are popular among recent retirees and those new to Medicare – will expand to serve more Minnesotans, with the $0 plan being available statewide and the $56 metro-area Plus plan expanding north. The $0 plan flexible benefit allowance (pre-loaded on a card) will increase from $900 to $1,200 a year to pay for dental care, eyewear/contacts and hearing aids from any provider. The Plus plan premium is being reduced from $75 to $56, with its yearly flexible benefit allowance increasing from $1,800 to $2,000.

UCare noted a number of changes for 2024, including premium cuts from $10 to $24 per month across its Medicare Advantage portfolio; reduced prescription drug costs with $0 copay on tier 1 drugs for all plans and a $0 Part D drug deductible on Your Choice and Your Choice Plus plans; $0 copays for outpatient mental health services and substance use disorder services on all plans; increased Medicare Part B premium giveback in the Value Plus plan from $30 per month to $50 per month; and $35-per-month insulin and no-cost Medicare Part D vaccines such as the hepatitis, RSV, shingles, tetanus and travel vaccines.


Major insurer Aetna said it will be making “significant investments” in its 2024 Medicare Advantage plans, including dental, vision and hearing benefits on every MA plan, reduced prescription drug costs across the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan portfolio, and expanded money-saving benefits for individuals who qualify for a Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) or Extra Help. 

For 2024, Aetna will offer MAPD plans in 46 states plus Washington, D.C., adding 255 new counties across the country. 

The company estimates 84% of the Medicare-eligible beneficiaries in the U.S. will have access to a $0 monthly premium. And for those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, it will expand its D-SNP offerings to 433 new counties across 31 states, including a new market in Maryland and new preferred provider organization plan options in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Utah. All D-SNPs offer $0 Part D drugs, dental, vision, hearing and an Extra Benefits Card with a new Extra Supports Wallet.

Aetna will also expand its Medicare Eagle MA-only plans to 43 states (adding Arkansas) and 1,591 counties. These plans offer additional benefits for veterans or individuals who already have prescription drug coverage. All 2024 Aetna Medicare Eagle plans will feature a $0 monthly plan premium, $0 primary care copay (including walk-in clinics), dental, vision, hearing, OTC allowance and a SilverSneakers fitness benefit. These plans also offer $0 copays for labs, colonoscopies and routine eye and hearing exams. Most MA-only plans include a Part B premium reduction benefit.

The company’s new Medicare SmartFit plans are designed for prescription drug plan customers considering switching to a Medicare Advantage plan. These $0 monthly premium plans include dental, vision and hearing, and there’s also a variety of no-cost benefits like $0 in-network primary care visits and labs and $0 Tier 1 generics at preferred pharmacies and through mail order.

Every 2024 Aetna MA plan will include dental, vision and hearing benefits, a Medicare Payment Card, expanded fitness benefits and stable or reduced member out-of-pocket costs limits.

As a CVS Health company, Aetna said it will provide MA members access to retail health clinics, including MinuteClinic; OTC benefits; health home visits through Signify Health; pharmacist panels; and a fall prevention benefit through CVS Pharmacy.


For the fifth consecutive year, Cigna will expand its Medicare Advantage service area, increasing its footprint to 603 counties across 29 states and Washington D.C.. New to its service area this year are 25 counties, which includes a first-time entry into Nevada serving the Las Vegas metro area in Clark and Nye counties.

There’s a $0 premium plan offered in every service market, and all plans feature dental, vision, fitness, meals, and enhanced hearing benefits. And expanded services areas for Medicare Advantage and Dual Eligible Special Needs plans have the potential to reach an additional 2.3 million potential customers, the company said.

Every market has a $0 premium plan, and most plans feature a $0 copay for primary care. Most markets offer a plan with a rebate toward the customer’s Medicare Part B monthly premium, and all plans offer dental, vision and hearing benefits, as well as home delivery of meals following hospitalization and access to fitness benefits.

Additional benefits available in some plans include transportation to and from doctors and pharmacies, an allowance for over-the-counter health-related products, and a support program for caregivers. Also on offer are an online tool for advance care planning, access to the myCigna app for real-time health and claims data, virtual care options for nonemergency urgent care, behavioral health, dermatology and speech therapy needs, and 24-hour help from a nurse advocate over the phone.

The Cigna Healthy Today card, available to all customers, bundles benefits and incentives onto a single card for convenient use at more than 62,000 participating retailers nationwide. Depending on the plan, the card includes wellness incentives, a reward for volunteerism, dollars for over-the-counter health-related items, and an allowance for fitness supplies, utilities and groceries. 

Three stand alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) will be available in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. All plans have $0 copay options for select medications purchased through preferred home delivery.

Cigna will expand its Courage MA only plan to 17 states. This $0 premium plan is available to anyone, but is designed to fit U.S. military veterans who have earned benefits such as TRICARE for Life or VA Healthcare. In some states, the plan features an allowance for caring for a service animal. In Pennsylvania, it includes an allowance for certain home modifications.

The company will also expand its dually eligible special need plans (DSNP) to 68 new counties this year. These plans are available to people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. They include benefits such as utility assistance and allowances for healthy food purchases. All Cigna Healthcare’s DSNPs for 2024 also will feature $0 cost share for all covered drugs in all phases.


A large share of seniors now choose Medicare Advantage, with the popular program comprising more than 31 million beneficiaries and representing more than half of the Medicare population, according to the 2023 State of Medicare Advantage report released by Better Medicare Alliance. 

This report comes on the heels of new projections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid showing Medicare Advantage growth is expected to reach 33.8 million beneficiaries in 2024.

More than 31 million beneficiaries now choose Medicare Advantage, comprising 51% of the Medicare population, the report found. The share of beneficiaries living in rural areas who choose Medicare Advantage, now 40%, has quadrupled since 2010.

Medicare Advantage now attracts the largest share of minority populations, with 69% of Latino beneficiaries, 65% of Black beneficiaries and 60% of Asian beneficiaries.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: Jeff.Lagasse@himssmedia.com


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