Once again, we have Mark Farrah Associates to thank for delivering the latest: In her Feb. 25 article, Debra Donahue summarized Medicare Advantage enrollment numbers through Feb. 1, reporting that nearly 12.2 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans as of February 2011 – roughly 26 percent of the 46.4 million people eligible for Medicare, according to data from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“In spite of a shorter open enrollment period, flat reimbursement rates from Medicare, cancellation of the popular PFFS products in most areas, and marketing suspensions for some leading plans, aggregate enrollment in MA plans increased by 290,232 net new members between December 2010 and February 2011,” Donahue wrote. “Furthermore, the 257 companies active in MA as of February 2011 added nearly 791,000 Medicare beneficiaries from February 2010.”

Other figures include:

  • The changes in enrollment numbers on Feb. 1 amounted to 12,164,793.
  • MA gained 790,702 net new members.
  • There was a 7 percent growth rate.
  • Ten organizations dominate the market, with a 60 percent market share.
  • As of February 2011, there are 257 companies offering MA, down from 259 in 2010.
  • Fifty-seven percent of the companies doing business in 2011 have fewer than 10,000 members.

Here, then, is a numerical rundown on the top companies in the MA market (those with enrollment over 250,000):

Company

February 2011 enrollment

% growth over 2010

Market share

United Health

2,159,798

8.6%

17.8%

Humana

1,901,262

9.9%

15.6%

Kaiser

1,015,055

5.4%

8.3%

WellPoint

543,549

17.7%

4.5%

Aetna

396,361

-9.3%

3.3%

Highmark

326,142

6.6%

2.7%

Health Net

253,965

-6.3%

2.1%

Subtotal for top 7:

6,596,132

7.1%

54.2%

All others:

5,568,661

6.7%

45.8%

Total:

12,164,793

7%

100%

The companies with the largest gain in enrollment from February 2010 to February 2011

  • Humana: 171,410
  • UnitedHealth: 171,328
  • BCBS-Michigan: 133,190
  • WellPoint: 81,797
  • Kaiser Foundation: 52,043
  • Universal Health Care: 50,578
  • XL Health: 30,900
  • Bravo Health: 27,388
  • BCBS-Minnesota: 23,208
  • Highmark: 20,207
  • Total: 762,049

Because most PFFS plans have closed down and converted to PPOs, PPO plans gained 1,023,872 members. However, HMOs still dominated the MA market, with a market share of 64.1 percent. PFFS plans dropped markedly, while PPO plans more than doubled from February 2009.

Ron Iverson is president of the National Association of Medicare Supplement Advisors Inc. He can be reached at 406-442-4016. This article was adapted from a piece that ran in the March 2 edition of the NAMSA newsletter.

For more exclusive Medicare coverage, visit ASJ’s Medicare Resource Center.

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