Best Cheap Medicare in Utah

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: July 20, 2021

Compare Medicare Advantage plans and quote side-by-side to get the best rate here.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “When a door closes, a window opens.” Think of retirement as your window into a new exciting world. To seize all of the wonders of that new beginning, start by planning for Medicare. Your health plays a major role in how you’re able to enjoy your golden years. We’ve rounded up the 5 best companies in Utah that offer Medicare so you don’t miss a beat.

The Best Medicare in Utah

What is Medicare?

You must be 65 to qualify for Medicare, a U.S. national health insurance program. People with permanent disabilities, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and end-stage renal disease are also eligible to receive Medicare. Barring any of these health issues, you can sign up for Medicare through the Social Security Administration when you’re 3 months shy of your 65th birthday.

Medicare is offered in what’s called “parts.” You sign up for 1 part or a combination of parts:

Part A: This is often called hospital insurance. Part A helps cover your hospital expenses such as inpatient care, overnight hospital stays, skilled nursing care, home health care and hospice care.  

Part B: Also called medical insurance, Part B helps you with outpatient care for nurse or doctor visits, X-rays, tests and certain medical-related equipment.

Part C: Frequently referred to as Medicare Advantage, Part C is a combination of Parts A and B and typically prescription medication coverage (Part D). Private health plans provide Medicare Advantage. When you enroll in a Medicare Part C plan, you need to stay in the provider network.

Part D: This is your prescription drug coverage. Just like with private health care, Part D gives you access to lower rates on prescriptions. Whether you decide to satisfy your health insurance needs using Medicare Parts A and B or Part C, it’s a good idea to look into Medicare Part D plans. Part C usually includes prescription drug coverage but it doesn’t always, so double-check that it does.

Medicare is funded by the government but you’ll still have to pay premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare supplemental insurance is a good way to curb your costs if you get the feeling these expenses will take too big of a toll on your bank account.  

Don’t plan to retire when you turn 65? You can just sign up for Part A. You can avoid premiums by opting out of Part B.  

Legalities of Medicare in Utah

The Utah Insurance Department works with the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services to operate the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP offers Medicare-related counseling and assistance to you and your family. Call 1-800-541-7735 or visit its website.

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare contracts private companies to provide Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare pays a fixed amount to these private companies and most Medicare services are covered. Plenty of these plans offer prescription drug coverage. Here are the popular types of Medicare Advantage health care options:  

Health maintenance organization (HMO): Health maintenance organizations offer health care through a network of providers. You need to stay within the predetermined network for services like doctor, nurse or hospital visits for coverage but can go anywhere in an emergency. You choose a primary care physician (PCP) who coordinates your health care. You’d need to get a referral from your PCP to see a specialist.

Preferred provider organization (PPO): A preferred provider organization runs a bit like an HMO but isn’t as limiting. With PPOs, you’ve got access to a network of providers. If you choose to see a doctor or go to a facility outside of the network, you’ll pay more than if you stayed within the network.

Private fee-for-service plans (PFFS): Private fee-for-service plans allow you to go to any doctor, clinic or hospital. Be sure you check with the provider to make sure it accepts the PFFS plan’s terms for payment. PFFS plans determine upfront how much you pay for services.

HMO point of service plans (HMO POS): An HMO point-of-service lets you go out of network for some services at a higher copay, which is the fixed amount for a covered service. Your costs will be lower if you stay within the network.

Medical savings account (MSA): A medical savings account integrates a bank account with a high-deductible health plan. You use the money Medicare deposits in an account to pay for your health care needs. Keep in mind that prescription drugs aren’t covered by MSAs. You’ll need to enroll in Medicare Part D if you want prescription drug coverage.    

How to Sign Up for Medicare in Utah

Enroll for Medicare Parts A and B online through the Social Security Administration. You can bypass Part B coverage to avoid paying the premium payments if you don’t plan to retire at age 65. As mentioned above, you need to sign up for Medicare 3 months before you turn 65. 

When you’re ready to enroll for Medicare, Medicare.gov and ssa.gov provide useful guides and helpful information. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Enroll at ssa.gov.
  2. Sign up for Part A and Part B, Part A only or Part C.
  3. Use this Medicare checklist to keep track and on task and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your coverage. 

Average Cost of Medicare Advantage Plans in Utah

Find available plans in your area with Medicare’s plan finder. The site comes up with plans available to you after you enter your ZIP code and answer a couple of questions. You can compare up to 3 plans at a time. For example, we entered the ZIP code for Park City and here are the results. 

Plan NameCompanyAnnual Premium(approx.)Health DeductibleDrug DeductibleStar Rating (Out of 5 Stars)
AARP Medicare Advantage Essential (HMO)UnitedHealthcare$1,735$0N/A4
AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens (HMO)UnitedHealthcare$1,735$0$2254
Molina Medicare Choice Care (HMO)Molina Healthcare of Utah and Idaho$1,735$0$03.5
Aetna Medicare Value Plan (PPO)Aetna Medicare$2,431$0$1004.5
SelectHealth Advantage Enhanced (HMO)SelectHealth$2,443$0$2004.5

Note: The table doesn’t include other expenses like copays for care visits and out-of-pocket maximums. 

Best Medicare Insurance Providers in Utah

Here are Benzinga’s top picks for Medicare in Utah.

Regence BlueShield of Washington
securely through Regence BlueShield of Washington's website

1. Best Overall in Utah: Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Utah offers Utah Medicare Advantage enrollees affordability, accessibility and advantages: 

  • Low or no monthly premiums
  • No deductible for prescription drugs
  • Access to the Silver&Fit program
  • Regence Advice24 (a nurse line)
  • Medical case management
  • In-home health assessment and disease management
  • Meals after a hospital stay
  • Mobile app to help you quickly find your member ID, doctor and customer service

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an independent organization that works to improve health care quality rates, gives Regence a 4 out of a 5-star rating.

Aetna Health Insurance
Best For
  • Member support

2. Most Affordable in Utah: Aetna

Aetna Medicare offers HMO, HMO POS and PPO Medicare Advantage plans. Its affordable plans include routine dental, vision and hearing benefits in addition to regular health care coverage. Aetna also provides its members with SilverSneakers fitness membership, a 24/7 nurse helpline and prescription delivery. You can also get vitamins and cold remedies at no extra cost. Aetna will also bring meals to your door after a hospital stay. The NCQA offered Aetna a 4 rating.

Molina
Best For
  • Preventative care

3. Best for Availability: Molina Healthcare of Utah

Molina Medicare Advantage HMO plans offer comprehensive, quality health care. In addition to the services you expect from your health care provider, Molina offers:

  • Over-the-counter items like sunscreen, cough medicine and bandages as part of your benefits 
  • Membership to Silver&Fit 
  • Access to virtual care services — Teledoc is available by phone, video or Molina’s mobile app

Molina earns a 3 rating from the NCQA as one of the largest Medicare Advantage providers in Utah. 

Select Health
securely through Select Health's website

3. Best for Unique Benefits: SelectHealth

SelectHealth, one of the 5 largest Medicare Advantage providers in Utah, works with Intermountain Healthcare and clinical partners to offer you a wide range of doctors and facilities. They work together to bring you quality health care at a reasonable cost.

SelectHealth employs member advocates to help you find the best provider fit for your needs. Member advocates will also help you schedule an appointment. Have plans for travel in retirement? No problem. SelectHealth emergency and urgent care overage travel with you in and out of the United States. The NCQA gives SelectHealth a 3.5 rating. 

UnitedHealthCare Health Insurance
Best For
  • Same day coverage available

4. Best for AARP Members: UnitedHealthcare

You can get personal help to choose your plan through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). AARP members get special access to UHC Medicare Advantage plans. UHC also offers low or no copays for health provider visits and free vision and dental exams.

You can take advantage of transportation services, house calls and round-the-clock nurse helplines. RenewActive helps you earn rewards for healthy actions and gives you access to a gym membership. The NCQA gives UHC a 4 rating.

Let Your Golden Years Shine 

Take steps now so you can take on your golden years with confidence. Determine your retirement budget and really think about your health care needs. Use Benzinga’s Medicare Advantage plan finder to help you find a plan that fits you best.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
1) Q: What are the different parts of Medicare?
A

Medicare has 4 parts named Parts A, B, C, and D. Part A provides hospitalization coverage while Part B provides outpatient coverage, like doctor visits. Parts A and B make up Medicare’s core coverages. Part C is provides private-market Medicare plans, called Medicare Advantage Plans. Part C coverage often includes additional benefits. Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drugs. Get a Medicare Insurance Quote through the top providers here.

Q
2) Q: Is Medicare free?
A

Because there are 4 parts to Medicare, there can be different cost structures. Most people won’t have to pay for Medicare Part A (hospitalization). Eligibility for premium-free Part A is based on your work history during which you paid Medicare taxes. Many people do pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, however, which covers outpatient medical services, like doctor visits. Deductibles also apply to services covered under Medicare Parts A and B, so you’ll pay a part of the annual cost.

Medicare Parts C and D are optional coverages and have premium costs of their own. Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage Plans that offer additional coverage in exchange for a monthly premium. Part D, the prescription plan, reduces the cost of medications but also requires a monthly premium. Subsidies may be available for low income households to help reduce overall Medicare costs.

Q
3) Q: Do I need to sign up for Medicare?
A

If you signed up for Social Security before age 65, you were enrolled in Medicare automatically but benefits will begin at age 65. In most cases, there are penalties for not enrolling at age 65, so it pays to sign up on time. Click here to get a medicare quote in minutes from the best providers. 

If you have employer coverage, you may be able to delay Medicare coverage while your work plan is still in force. However, the size of the employer determines whether you’ll pay a penalty for not enrolling at age 65. Employees (and their spouses) of companies that offer group health insurance to 20 or more people are usually exempt from late sign-up penalties if they are covered by the employer’s plan.

Recommended lecture: BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORS IN UTAH