Medicare Advantage Plans: Growth Continues Despite Looming Payment Cuts

 Medicare advantage enrollments increased 746,000 from year-end 2013 to February 2014 as beneficiaries purchased plans from top insurance companies during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).  Total enrollment in the Medicare Advantage program now stands at approximately 15.3 million people, which is a 5.1% increase from 2013.

The insurance companies seeing the most growth were Humana, Aetna, BlueCrossBlueShield of Michigan, and BlueCross & BlueShield of North Carolina. United Healthcare continues to be the market leader, however, with 21% market share.

Last year the Center for Medicare Services initially proposed a 2.2% cut to Medicare Advantage reimbursements, but after heavy lobbying by insurance companies they increased rates by 3.3%.  In contrast, Medicare Advantage plans are expected to see a 6-7% cut in 2014 and insurance company executives say they cannot operate more efficiently.  If this holds true beneficiaries will likely see increased monthly premiums and possible benefit cuts in 2015, which will surely limit growth in the Medicare Advantage program.

 

Source: Doug Feekin, CSG Actuarial, “Medicare Advantage Plans Continue Growth”, Feb, 20th, 2014

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