Medicare Advantage Star Ratings Can Help You Pick a Plan

Here's how this rating system works and how you can use it during open enrollment.

I’m choosing a Medicare Advantage plan for next year. What is the significance of the Medicare Advantage star ratings, and how can I use them to pick a plan during open-enrollment period?

This year, open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7, so now is the time to begin doing your research -- and Medicare Advantage star ratings are a key factor in choosing a plan. The ratings assess Medicare Advantage plans on 50 measures in five categories, focusing primarily on each plan’s coverage, the effectiveness of its communications and its customer service. The highest rating is five stars.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.