Iowa Medicare Advantage: The 8 Best & Worst Plans

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Jasmine Fleming

By: Jasmine Fleming

Edited by John Leach

Last Updated October 29, 2021

Iowa residents have a number of options when it comes to enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan. Learn about the top plans, average plan costs, and how these plans differ from other Medicare options.

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare ( Medicare Part A and Part B ), you may be wondering how you can extend your health insurance coverage to get more benefits. Luckily, as an Iowa resident, you have the option to select a Medicare Part C plan.

Also known as MA plans, these options offer additional coverage that can include Medicare Part D drug plan benefits as well as dental, vision, hearing, and inpatient and outpatient hospital care.

Do you want to start comparing the MA insurance plans available in your service area? Get started today with the Insurify Medicare comparison tool.

Best-Rated Iowa Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare beneficiaries have a number of plan options in Iowa for MA plan coverage. Take a look at the top eight plans to help you find the right one for you. Keep in mind that plan availability is also determined by your county of residence.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans In Iowa

1. Gundersen Quartz Med Advantage Core D

2. Gundersen Quartz Med Advantage Elite D

3. Gundersen Quartz Med Advantage Value D

4. AARP Medicare Advantage

5. HealthPartners UnityPoint Health Align Plan 1

6. HealthPartners UnityPoint Health Align Plan 2

7. HealthPartners UnityPoint Health Symmetry

8. AARP Medicare Advantage Choice

Top plans were determined based on a number of factors, including monthly premiums, other plan costs and co-pays, and the plans’ Medicare star rating.

#1 Gundersen Quartz Med Advantage Core D (w/Rx) H5262-021 ( HMO )

  • Monthly premium: $0

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $5,900

Beneficiaries of this five-star plan pay a $0 co-pay for prescription drug coverage and just $3–$9 for Tier 1 drug costs. In addition, preventive care also has a $0 co-pay, and primary care visits require only a $25 co-pay. Specialist doctor visits are a bit pricier, with $50 co-pays.

This plan becomes an even better deal with its $0 co-pays for comprehensive and preventive dental and vision benefits, along with a $25 co-pay for a hearing exam.

#2 Gundersen Quartz Med Advantage Elite D (w/Rx) H5262-001 ( HMO )

  • Monthly premium: $143

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $3,000

Another five-star plan, this one has a significantly higher monthly premium but smaller out-of-pocket max than the first Gundersen plan. Beneficiaries pay the same $0 prescription drug plan deductible and $3–$9 Tier 1 drug co-pays as the Core D plan. Preventive care has a $0 cost, and doctor visit co-pays are a bit more affordable than with the Core D plan, at $5 for primary care visits and $30 for specialist visits.

Dental and vision benefits also have a $0 co-pay, and hearing exams only require a $15 co-pay.

#3 Gundersen Quartz Med Advantage Value D (w/Rx) H5262-003 ( HMO )

  • Monthly premium: $40

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $3,450

Like the first two Gundersen plans on the list, this five-star option has a $0 drug plan deductible and a $3–$9 co-pay for Tier 1 drugs. Preventive care also carries a $0 co-pay. Doctor visits are affordable, with $15 co-pays for primary care and $40 co-pays for specialist care.

Dental and vision benefits all have a $0 co-pay, while a hearing exam co-pay is only $15.

#4 AARP Medicare Advantage H2802-001 ( HMO -POS)

  • Monthly premium: $0

  • Annual deductible: $250

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $4,900

The first 4.5-star plan on the list, this option from AARP has a $250 co-pay for prescription drug costs and a higher cost for Tier 1 drugs, at $0–$12 co-pays. Preventive care is included with a $0 co-pay, and doctor visits are covered with low co-pays. For primary care, expect to pay a $5 co-pay, and for specialist visits, it’s $45, assuming the providers are in-network.

All preventive dental care has a $0 co-pay, but for comprehensive dental, co-pays and coinsurance can reach up to 50 percent of the total cost. Although vision benefits are limited, the ones provided have a $0 co-pay, and a hearing exam also carries a $0 co-pay.

#5 HealthPartners UnityPoint Health Align H3416-001 ( PPO )

  • Monthly premium: $0

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $3,900

Another 4.5-star plan, this one is more affordable regarding monthly costs. There’s no prescription drug plan deductible, and Tier 1 drug costs are between $2 and $6. Preventive care has a $0 co-pay if the provider is in-network, and in-network primary care also has a $0 co-pay. Specialist visits are also not very pricy, with just a $35 in-network co-pay.

In-network vision and preventive and comprehensive dental benefits mostly require $0 co-pays. A hearing exam is pricier, with a $35 co-pay.

#6 HealthPartners UnityPoint Health Align H3416-002 ( PPO )

  • Monthly premium: $0

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $3,900

If the costs for this plan look familiar, that’s because they are. The costs are the same as for the fifth plan on the list, but the benefits are available to different counties. Your county of residence will determine which of the two plans is available to you.

#7 HealthPartners UnityPoint Health Symmetry H3416-002 ( PPO )

  • Monthly premium: $39

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum: $3,600

Like many of the previous plans, this 4.5-star plan doesn’t have a drug plan deductible, and the co-pay for Tier 1 drugs ranges from $2 to $6. Preventive care and primary care are affordable, with $0 in-network co-pays for both. Specialist visits aren’t expensive either, with just a $20 in-network co-pay.

Most of the covered vision and preventive and comprehensive dental benefits have $0 in-network co-pays, and a hearing exam has a $20 co-pay.

#8 AARP Medicare Advantage Choice H8768-017 ( PPO )

  • Monthly premium: $0

  • Annual deductible: $0

  • Out-of-pocket maximum:$3,900

The only four-star plan on the list, this option has affordable drug costs, with a $0 co-pay for prescription drug plan coverage and $0–$9 for Tier 1 drugs. Preventive and primary care visits require a $0 co-pay, while specialist visit co-pays are just $40. Like other more expensive plans on the list, the vision and preventive and comprehensive dental benefits have $0 in-network co-pays, and so does the in-network hearing exam.

Ready to check your eligibility for a top MA health plan? Try out the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to see your options.

How Much Does Medicare Advantage Cost in Iowa?

Understanding the average costs for MA plans can help you determine if a plan you’re interested in is the best financial fit. The average cost for MA plan premiums in Iowa is $30.94, which is higher than most of the state’s top plans.

If you regularly use medications, you also may want to compare the costs of Medicare Part D plans. On average, the cost of drug plan deductibles in the state is $80.75. Luckily, most of the top plans below have a drug plan deductible of $0.

Also, keep in mind that certain best practices, like seeking care from within the plan’s provider network, can lead to lower healthcare costs.

Because private companies offer these plans, each insurer sets actual plan costs. Check insurance companies’ websites for documents with a full list of plan benefits and a formulary explaining drug coverage.

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

While there are a few different MA plan types, the top eight plans fall into one of two categories: health maintenance organization ( HMO ) plans and preferred provider organization ( PPO ) plans.

HMO plans generally:

  • Require you to use an in-network healthcare provider

  • Provide prescription drug coverage

  • Require you to select a primary care doctor

  • Require a referral to see a specialist

PPO plans usually:

  • Have lower costs when you seek in-network care

  • Cover prescription drug costs

  • Don’t require you to select a primary care doctor

  • Don’t require a referral to see a specialist

You can learn more about other plan types, such as special needs plans ( SNPs ) and private fee-for-service ( PFFS ) plans, at Medicare.gov.

FAQ: Iowa Medicare Advantage

  • You can join, switch, or drop Medicare coverage between October 15 and December 7 each year. You can also switch to a different MA plan or switch to Original Medicare between January 1 and March 31 each year.

  • No, Medicare Supplement plans and MA plans won’t provide benefits at the same time. If you sign up for an MA plan, consider dropping the Medigap plan if you want the MA plan to pay any federal Medicare program co-payments, deductibles, or premiums.

  • You may be eligible for both Medicaid services and MA plan coverage at the same time. Visit Medicare.gov for contact details (with support options for TTY users) to speak to a representative about dual enrollment options.

    You can also contact the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) for individual help with eligibility questions.

Pick the Best Medicare Advantage Plan to Meet Your Needs

MA plans can be a great way to get additional Medicare coverage, including Medicare prescription drug plan coverage. If you’re thinking of selecting a plan to extend your Original Medicare coverage, consider plan costs, your budget, and your medical needs to make the best decision.

Ready to compare the plan options available in your county? Try out the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to get started.

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Jasmine Fleming
Jasmine Fleming

Insurance Writer

Jasmine Fleming is a freelance digital content marketer and strategist. She loves crafting helpful content that readers can use to make important decisions. You can learn more about Jasmine at her website, www.jasminefleming.com.

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