What Is MedicareComplete?

by Dale Marshall ; Updated July 27, 2017

MedicareComplete is the brand name for UnitedHealthcare's family of Medicare Advantage Plans, many of which also carry the AARP brand. At a minimum, they offer the same coverage as Medicare Parts A and B, and in some cases include a prescription drug component as well.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans are substitutes for Original Medicare coverage and were authorized by Congress to shift some of Medicare's cost burden to private insurance companies. Medicare participants who enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan are covered directly by the private insurance company offering it, to which Medicare pays a premium. Many of these plans require no additional premium from participants. As long as a participant is enrolled in a designated plan, the insurance company, and not Medicare, pays all the participant's covered hospital and medical expenses.

Medicare Advantage Plans must offer at least the same coverage as Original Medicare Parts A and B. Many offer other types of coverage -- such as vision, hearing and dental -- that aren't included in Original Medicare. Some also offer preventive care and wellness programs. Medicare Advantage Plans that include prescription drug coverage akin to Medicare Part D are termed MA-PD plans. These plans are "guaranteed issue" -- that is, you cannot be turned down for Medicare Advantage or MA-PD coverage, unless you have end-stage renal disease.

MedicareComplete

UnitedHealthcare markets three types of MedicareComplete plans. All three provide a network of healthcare providers, and you're responsible for paying an annual deductible and coinsurance, or copay, for services.

  • Health maintenance organization. In an HMO, the insurance company covers the charges only for health care providers in the network; if you go out-of-network for service, those charges won't be covered at all.
  • Preferred provider organization. In a PPO, the insurance company pays a portion of charges from out-of-network providers, but at a much lower rate than for in-network.
  • Point of service. A POS plan works the same as a PPO, with the important exception that if your in-network primary physician refers you to an out-of-network specialist, the insurance company will cover that specialist at the higher in-network rate.

Benefits

The benefits offered by each plan vary greatly, depending on their service area. For example, under Original Medicare, there is no coinsurance payment required for the first 60 days in the hospital, but there is a $1,260 deductible per 60-day benefit period. By contrast, MedicareComplete plans have no hospital deductible at all, and many also have no coinsurance. Those that do require payments of $250 to $430 per day for the first few days. For Part B services, most MedicareComplete plans require coinsurance payments, usually a flat-rate amount of $15 to $25, rather than the Original Medicare Part B deductible of 20 percent.

Features

Like all Medicare Advantage and MA-PD Plans, MedicareComplete plans offer participants the convenience of dealing with a single insurance plan. Otherwise, under Original Medicare, they must deal with Parts A and B, a Medicare Supplement plan in most cases and a Part D prescription drug plan. Except for Part A, each of these has its own premiums, deductibles and coinsurance requirements.

Warnings

  • If you have coverage from an employer or union, carefully review your options with the plan administrator before enrolling in any Medicare Advantage Plan. Doing so may permanently unenroll you from the other plan and irrevocably terminate your right to any benefits from it.

Enrollment and Cost

You can enroll in any MedicareComplete plan that's offered in your area through UnitedHealthcare's enrollment page. Some plans have no premium at all, while others cost as much as $50 per month; likewise, deductible and coinsurance amounts vary by service and area.

Tips

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and continue paying your Part B premium even while enrolled in MedicareComplete or any other Medicare Advantage Plan.

About the Author

Dale Marshall began writing for Internet clients in 2009. He specializes in topics related to the areas in which he worked for more than three decades, including finance, insurance, labor relations and human resources. Marshall earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Connecticut.