Wellcare vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield

In this article...
  • Wellcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield both offer Medicare Advantage plans in parts of the country. In this Medicare review, we compare Wellcare vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield so you can see the differences between these insurance carriers and decide which one may be best for you.

Wellcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield are two very different health insurance companies. One serves a limited market with a small selection of plans. The other is among the largest insurance providers in the U.S. with a nationwide footprint and diverse product lineup.

So how can you possibly make a comparison between Blue Cross Blue Shield vs. Wellcare? We did just that in our Medicare plans review to help you make the best decision about your health care needs.

Wellcare has over 12,00 employees, $20 billion in revenue and 5.5 million customers served. Wellcare also ranks 155th on the Fortune 500 list.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is part of the Anthem family of brands which opperate under different names according to the state or region where the company does business.

For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona offers Medicare plans in the state of Arizona, but plans might be offered by Florida Blue in Florida or by other names depending on where you live. You may even see names like “Anthem,” "Horizon,” “Empire,” “Highmark” and other names associated with the Anthem brand.

Wellcare vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield
  Pros Cons
Wellcare

Small company feel with a focused product lineup

Recently merged with Centene, a multinational health care company, which should boost the company profile

Limited selection of the types of Medicare plans offered

Plan quality ratings could be better

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Wide variety of plan types available in most parts of the nation, through BCBS and other Anthem family brands

Large network of participating doctors and providers

Shoppers may feel confused by the number of different affiliated brands

Plan quality ratings could be better

Blue Cross Blue Shield vs. Wellcare: Types of Insurance Plans Offered

Wellcare offers Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans.

Like Wellcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) also sells Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans. However, Blue Cross Blue Shield also sells Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans.

Areas Served

Wellcare sells Medicare Part D plans in all 50 states. However, the company sells Medicare Advantage plans in just 28 states (AL, AZ, AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KY, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT and WA).

Blue Cross Blue Shield operates under different affiliate names throughout various states and regions of the country. All combined, BCBS and other brands that are part of the Anthem family offer Medicare Advantage plans in 44 states, Medicare Part D plans in 41 states and Medigap insurance in all 50 states.

Provider Access

Doctor.com reports that nearly 18,000 doctors accept Wellcare insurance plans. This includes emergency room doctors, surgeons, family doctors, psychiatrists, OBGYNs and more. You should always ask your doctor or provider if they accept a Wellcare Medicare plan before you enroll in the plan.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the most widely accepted insurance carriers in the U.S. and can be used with more than 90% of doctors and specialists.1

Financial Ratings

In addition to an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau, Wellcare also boasts strong financial ratings, including a “BBB-” from Fitch Ratings and a “BB” from Standard and Poor’s.

Blue Cross Blue Shield does not have overall financial ratings because of its many affiliates, but A.M. Best has rated most of the companies in the family with an “A.” Blue Cross Blue Shield also has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Medicare Star Ratings

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Stars are used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to indicate various measures of plan quality, with five stars being the highest score.

In 2021, Wellcare received an overall rating of 3.4 stars out of 5. Wellcare Medicare Advantage plans earned a 3.2-star rating, and Wellcare Medicare Part D plans earned a 3.7-star rating.

Each Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate is assigned its own star rating. But when all combined, the company averaged 3.75 stars for its Medicare Advantage plans and 3.77 stars for its Medicare Part D plans in 2021.

Customer Experience

Visitors to the Wellcare website can easily locate a participating provider, and members can log into an online portal to manage even more with their benefits. The company also offers a few mobile apps for more direct health information access, although the customer ratings are low for both apps in the Apple app store and the Android app store.

Wellcare does not offer a live online chat option, but the company does offer customer support through phone and email.

Blue Cross Blue Shield members can search for participating providers on the company website, and plan members can also use an online member services portal for further access to benefits and claims information. Mobile apps are available for most BCBS affiliate companies and generally have above average ratings for both iOS and Android platforms.

If you want to contact Blue Cross Blue Shield, you can call the BCBS customer service phone number located in your plan information or on your Medicare Advantage plan card.

Wellcare vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Verdict

Wellcare offers only offers plans in select areas of the country, many consumers may enjoy that more narrowly focused feel.

While Blue Cross Blue Shield has all the benefits of a big company, its size can also be a hinderance to consumers.

At the end of the day, the best insurance company is the best one for you. A licensed insurance agent can help you better sort through the differences in coverage and costs and help you make a well-informed decision for your needs.

  1. https://www.bcbs.com/articles/coverage-goes-where-you-go-travel-worry-free-blue-cross-blue-shield

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