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Wellcare Medicare: Pros and Cons, Cost and Ratings 2024

Wellcare's Medicare Advantage plans bring a mix of advantages and considerations for individuals navigating the realm of healthcare coverage.
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Wellcare Medicare

For more than two decades, Wellcare has been at the forefront of providing a spectrum of Medicare products, ranging from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDP). These offerings extend beyond the standard coverage provided by Original Medicare, catering to the diverse health needs of individuals. Owned by the Centene Corporation, Wellcare has been a stalwart in delivering Medicare Advantage benefits for over 20 years. As the largest Medicaid managed care organization in the U.S., Centene plays a pivotal role, offering affordable and comprehensive plans to a significant portion of the population, with one in 15 people in the U.S. benefiting from their services.

While Wellcare has a robust history of service, it's essential to note that its Medicare star ratings are currently lower than those of some other providers. In 2024, less than 1% of Wellcare's members in contracts with a Medicare star rating boast a score of 4 or higher (out of 5). Despite these ratings, Wellcare continues to serve a substantial number of individuals, highlighting the complexities within the Medicare Advantage landscape.

Pros and Cons:

Wellcare's Medicare Advantage plans bring a mix of advantages and considerations for individuals navigating the realm of healthcare coverage. The following lists encapsulate the pros and cons to provide a comprehensive overview:


  • Company Strength: Following Centene's acquisition of Wellcare in 2020, the combined entities claimed 4.4% of the Medicare Advantage market in 2023. This consolidation strengthens the company's position in delivering healthcare services.

  • Funds for Extra Benefits: Certain Wellcare plans incorporate the Spendables card, preloaded with funds that members can utilize for various purposes such as over-the-counter items, groceries, rent or utility assistance, gasoline, or dental, vision, and hearing benefits based on the specific plan.

  • Part B Premium Coverage: Some Wellcare plans include a Giveback benefit that refunds some or all of the Medicare Part B premium, providing financial relief for members.


  • Low Star Ratings: Wellcare's average star rating from Medicare in 2024 is 3.03 stars (out of 5), compared to the overall Medicare Advantage plans average of 4.04 stars. This indicates a lower-than-average performance in terms of ratings.

  • Member Discontent: Member experiences, especially in metrics like care coordination and customer service, fall below average, reflecting a potential area for improvement.

  • Limited State Coverage: Wellcare offers Medicare Advantage plans in 37 states and special needs plans (SNPs) in 33 states, signaling a degree of limited geographic coverage.

Cost of Wellcare Medicare Advantage Plans

Understanding the cost implications is pivotal when considering Wellcare Medicare Advantage plans. Melissa Spangler, a Wellcare pre-enrollment specialist, notes that "Wellcare Medicare Advantage zero premium plans are the most popular." Opting for a Wellcare Medicare Advantage zero premium plan means no monthly premium, but members are still required to pay the standard 2023 Medicare Part B premium of $164.90 per month. Health care services are paid for as needed, shaping annual medical expenses based on individual healthcare requirements.

It's crucial to note that the costs for Medicare Advantage plans vary based on the specific plan, geographic location, and individual health needs. Here's an overview of some Wellcare Medicare Advantage plan costs for the most popular plans in a mid-range city:

Premiums: Among Wellcare's HMO, PPO, and PFFS plans in 2024, 3 in 4 offer a $0 premium. However, members remain responsible for paying the Medicare Part B premium, which is at least $174.70 per month in 2024. The table below provides examples of costs for selected Wellcare Medicare Advantage plans:

Wellcare Medicare Advantage PlanPricing
Wellcare No Premium (HMO)Monthly premium: $0. Out-of-pocket max: $4,500. Copays: Primary care: $0. Specialist: $25. Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.
Wellcare Giveback Open (PPO)Monthly premium: $0. Out-of-pocket max: $8,300. Copays: Primary care: $0. Specialist: $50. Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.
Wellcare No Premium Open (PPO)Monthly premium: $0. Out-of-pocket max: $3,900. Copays: Primary care: $0. Specialist: $25. Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.

These examples provide insights into the potential costs associated with selected Wellcare Medicare Advantage plans.

Third-Party Ratings: Evaluating Member Satisfaction

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Wellcare's performance, third-party ratings can be insightful. J.D. Power, in its 2023 U.S. Medicare Advantage Study, assessed member satisfaction with Medicare Advantage plans. The study considered factors such as the level of trust and the provider's effectiveness in resolving problems or complaints. Centene, the parent company of Wellcare, ranked in different states as follows:

  • California: 7th out of 7.
  • Florida: 6th out of 6.
  • New York: 8th out of 8.
  • Texas: 6th out of 6.

These rankings shed light on member satisfaction in key Medicare markets.

In conclusion, Wellcare Medicare stands as a longstanding contributor to the Medicare Advantage landscape, offering a range of plans with distinctive features. While the company has areas of strength, including its financial backing and additional benefits, it also faces challenges, notably in member satisfaction and star ratings. Individuals considering Wellcare Medicare Advantage plans are encouraged to carefully weigh the pros and cons, assess their healthcare needs, and explore plan options to make an informed decision aligned with their unique requirements.

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