How Do Star Ratings Work?

Star ratings are quality ratings that provide a measure of a plan’s performance. Medicare scores Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D plans in several categories, including quality of care and customer service. Ratings range from one to five stars, with five being the highest. Medicare assigns plans an overall star rating to summarize the plan’s performance as a whole. Plans also receive separate star ratings in each individual category reviewed. The overall star rating provides a way to compare performance among several plans. To learn more about differences among plans, look at plans’ ratings in each category. Plan ratings change from one year to the next. Medicare reviews plan performances each year and releases new star ratings each October.

Keep in mind that a plan’s star rating is only one factor to review when comparing plans in your area. Even though a plan has a high star rating, it may not be right for you. It is important to see whether the plan covers the health services and drugs you need and works with the pharmacies you use before considering its star rating. Also, note that the star ratings in the Medicare & You handbook are not necessarily the most recent. For the most up-to-date, comprehensive star ratings, you should call 1-800-MEDICARE or use the online Plan Finder tool at

Read Next: How Does the Medicare Plan Finder Work?
Find Out: What Do Medicare Advantage Plans Offer?
Return to: Medicare 2021

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This content was created and copyrighted by the Medicare Rights Center ©2021. Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities. These materials are presented here with support from and may not be distributed, modified or edited without Medicare Rights’ consent.