Medicare uses information from member satisfaction surveys, plans, and health care providers to give overall performance star ratings to plans.

Comparing Medicare Plans

A plan can get a rating from one to five stars. A 5-star rating is considered excellent. To help you compare plans based on quality and performance you can find a plan’s star rating on the Medicare Plan Finder Tool on

What is the 5-star Enrollment Period?

Medicare beneficiaries have a 5-star special enrollment period that may be used one time between December 8th and November 30th.

You can use the 5-star special enrollment period to switch to a 5-Star Medicare Advantage-only plan (MA-only), a 5-star Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD), a 5-star Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or a 5-star Cost Plan.

If you enroll in a 5 Star Cost Plan you can use a coordinating special enrollment period to enroll in a Part D Plan.

If you are currently enrolled in a 5-star plan you may switch to a different plan with a 5- Star overall rating. The enrollment effective date is the first day of the month following the month in which the plan receives the enrollment request.

Once you enroll in a 5-star plan using this SEP, you cannot use this 5-star SEP again until December 8th of the year.

What Iowa plans have a 5-star rating?

Listed below are the available plans in Iowa that have a 5-star rating:

  • Medical Associates Cost Plans (All)

Who can utilize the 5-Star Special Enrollment Period?

Our 5-Star Enrollment Period factsheet provides information you can use to determine if you can use the Special Enrollment Period.

The 5-star SEP does not waive the late enrollment penalty. Currently Cost plans have continuous enrollment so if you are in Original Medicare you don't need an SEP to enroll in a plan. But if an individual is leaving a MA or MA-PDP plan to enroll in a Medical Associates Cost Plan, you would need to use the one-time 5-star SEP to disenroll from the MA or MA-PDP in order to enrolling the Cost Plan.

*When you want to enroll someone in the Medical Associates 5-Star plan and use the Coordinating SEP for a Part D plan you need to do the following on Plan Finder:

  • First, enroll your client on into the Medical Associates 5-Star Cost plan.
  • Next, file a casework form to the state office asking for the drug plan enrollment because you just enrolled your client in a 5-Star Cost plan with coordinating PDP SEP.