Best Medicare Advantage Plans In California For 2024

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Robby Brumberg Editor
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If you’re considering enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan (also known as Medicare Part C) in California to meet your health insurance needs, you’re not alone.

According to recent Census data estimates, approximately 5.8 million people ages 65 and older live in California, accounting for nearly 16% of the state’s total population[1]. Considering that California’s average life expectancy is 79 years, maintaining health insurance coverage after retirement is essential for both physical and financial well-being[2].

If you’re looking for the best Medicare Advantage plan that suits your specific needs, Forbes Health is here to assist with your search. Using the snapshot of your state’s market below, you can gain a better understanding of how many plan options you have, who the providers tend to be and how much you can expect to pay each month for a plan. You can also download our checklist of easy-to-follow steps for a streamlined Medicare Advantage enrollment experience.

Medicare Advantage in California

Since Medicare Advantage plan eligibility is largely dependent on where you live, we gathered data specific to an urban, suburban and rural location in California to show how plan availability, monthly premium rates and in-network maximum out-of-pocket amounts can vary.

Los Angeles CountySacramento CountySonoma County
Number of residents enrolled in a plan*885,122 163,385 61,588
Number of plan contracts available*558 262 190
Number of plan contracts utilized***81 29 18
Number of health insurance companies providing plans**17 10 7
Health insurance companies providing plans**

Aetna Medicare

Alignment Health Plan

Anthem Blue Cross

Anthem Blue Cross

Partnership Plan

Astiva Health

Blue Shield of California

Brand New Day

Central Health

Medicare Plan

Clever Care Health Plan


Imperial Health Plan of California, Inc.

Kaiser Permanente

Molina Healthcare of California

SCAN Health Plan

UnitedHealthcare Wellcare

Wellcare by Health Net

Aetna Medicare

Alignment Health Plan

Anthem Blue Cross

Anthem Blue Cross

Partnership Plan

Brand New Day

Imperial Health Plan of California, Inc.,

Kaiser Permanente


Western Health Advantage

Aetna Medicare

Alignment Health Plan

Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Co.

Imperial Health Plan of California, Inc.

Kaiser Permanente


Western Health Advantage

Average monthly premium of these plans**$5.80 $17.98 $21.22
Average monthly out-of-pocket maximum of these plans**$2,603.09 $4,561.86 $5,164.47

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

*Data from September 2023

**Data from October 2023

***Plans with less than 10 enrollees are excluded from this data point by CMS

****State averages based on data points for three presented counties

Medicare Advantage Providers in California

Twenty-four private health insurance providers offer Medicare Advantage plans in the state of California, including:

  • Aetna Medicare
  • Alignment Health Plan
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Co.
  • Anthem Blue Cross Partnership Plan
  • Aspire Health
  • Astiva Health
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Brand New Day
  • CCA Health California
  • CCHP (Chinese Community Health Plan)
  • Central Health Medicare Plan
  • Clever Care Health Plan
  • Humana
  • Imperial Health Plan of California, Inc.
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Molina Healthcare of California
  • Providence Medicare Advantage Plans
  • SCAN Health Plan
  • Sharp Health Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Wellcare
  • Wellcare by Health Net
  • Western Health Advantage

Plan availability varies by ZIP code, so not all providers listed above offer Medicare Advantage plans in every county of California.

Top-Rated Medicare Advantage Plans in California

Every year CMS rates Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Part D prescription drug plans to reflect the experience of being enrolled in such coverage. The agency uses a scale of one to five stars, with one star representing poor performance and five stars representing excellent performance. While no plans available in the state of California for 2024 earned five-star ratings from CMS, the following plans received 4.5-star ratings:

  • Sharp Health Plan
    • Sharp Direct Advantage Gold Card (HMO)
    • Sharp Direct Advantage Platinum Card (HMO)
    • Sharp Direct Advantage VIP Plan (HMO)

To determine which of these plans might be available in your area, enter your ZIP code in’s plan finder tool. The tool also displays each plan’s rating from CMS.

Medicare Resources in California

If you live in California and are looking for additional information about Medicare plans available to you or need assistance with selecting the best coverage for your health care needs and budget, consider these resources to help you get started.

  • California Department of Aging: This department is home to a Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling, education and assistance to individuals and their families on Medicare, among other services.
  • California Health Advocates: This organization provides information on Medicare, Part D prescription drug coverage and financial aid for low-income older adults.
  • California Department of Insurance: The goal of this office is to promote a competitive insurance market while protecting the interests of those buying insurance, helping them avoid scams and make wise purchasing decisions.

While not exclusive to the state of California, and CMS’s website are two excellent tools for learning about the various components of Medicare coverage. You can also search for plans available in your ZIP code and compare options via’s plan finder tool.

How to Find the Best Medicare Advantage Plan in California

If you’re approaching the age of 65, navigating another qualifying event or reviewing plan options ahead of the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period (which runs from January 1 to March 31 annually), there are a number of details to consider when comparing Medicare Advantage plan options. To make that process easier, we created the downloadable checklist below.

How to Pick the Best Medicare Advantage Plan in California

Your Medicare Advantage Plan Shopping Checklist (Text Version)

Confused About Medicare Advantage Insurance Options?

Click Get A Quote or call 888-349-0361 to speak with a licensed insurance agent (TTY 711, Mon-Sun 8 am - 11 pm EST).

Get A Quote

On Medicare Enrollment's Website

HealthCompare Insurance Services does not offer every plan available in your area. Currently it represents 18 organizations, which offers 52,101 products in your area. Please contact, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all of your options.

HealthCompare Insurance Services represents Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS organizations and stand-alone PDP prescription drug plans that are contracted with Medicare. Enrollment depends on the plan’s contract renewal. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement (Medigap)?

Medicare Advantage plans serve as a substitute for Original Medicare, providing the same coverage plus additional benefits like prescription drugs coverage (Part D). Meanwhile, Medicare Supplement plans (commonly known as Medigap plans) are sold by private insurance companies to people enrolled in Original Medicare to help fill the gaps of that coverage. There are 10 types of Medigap plans—with letter names ranging from A to N—that provide standardized coverage and help pay for things like deductibles, coinsurance and copays. Another important difference to note: Medigap policies don’t cover prescription drugs. A person enrolled in Original Medicare who wants prescription drug coverage needs to purchase a separate Medicare Part D plan in addition to any Medicare Supplement plan.

Who can benefit most from Medicare Advantage coverage?

Any qualifying U.S. adult interested in convenient coverage options that are largely covered by a single insurer can benefit from a Medicare Advantage plan. People with chronic health conditions and specific coverage needs might also find bundled coverage under a Medicare Advantage plan to be more affordable than taking a piecemeal approach with Original Medicare and Medigap plans.

What insurance companies are the top providers of Medicare Advantage plans?

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and Anthem are the top Medicare Advantage providers, according to a Forbes Health analysis of U.S. insurance companies that offer these types of plans nationwide. We evaluated each provider based on the number of states they provide coverage in, the variety of benefits they offer, how they’re ranked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and how they’re ranked in terms of their financial health by agencies like A.M. Best and how agencies like J.D. Power rank them regarding consumer feedback.



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