How to compare plans using Medicare Star Ratings

When you’re shopping online, you might look for trusted opinions on what to buy. This might be an online review from a reputable source or an award that a product receives for meeting certain industry standards.

These can help you make an informed choice. The same can be said when shopping for Medicare plans. Each year, the federal government reviews health plan performance and releases new ratings, based on how well the plans perform.

These are called Star Ratings and are provided every fall. The Medicare Star Ratings System comes from The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and rates the quality of Medicare Advantage plans, Special Needs Plans and Part D (prescription drug) plans. Star Ratings provide a score for quality across several quality measures, including:

  • The quality of care members receive
  • Customer service and other health plan operations
  • Member satisfaction

Each plan receives anywhere from one to five stars, with five being the highest.

A highly rated plan can mean that members feel that their plan provides good service, and that providers deliver effective and quality care. It can also be a sign that members are receiving the necessary preventive screenings and services for their overall health.

When shopping for Medicare plans, ask about the Star Rating. The information on stars is also publicly available on, if you shop online. For 2024 Star Year Ratings, 79% of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members are in 4 out of 5-star plans or higher.

There might be a lot of factors that go into your decision-making process, including premiums, out-of-pocket expenses and the size of the network. But understanding how star ratings work can give you one more tool when finding the best Medicare plan that fits your needs.

You can learn more about the quality of plans in your area by using the Plan Finder tool on and then reviewing the Star Rating for specific plans.

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