According to Debra Donahue of Mark Farrah Associates, new Medicare Supplement memberships are on the rise, with new policies (those issued in the last three years) increasing by almost 6 percent in 2010, compared to a 1.3 percent increase in 2009. Donahue says the surge in memberships result from the ending of Medicare Advantage private-fee-for-services plans in many parts of the country and new options offered for Plans N and M.

“Though total membership declined from 9,508,000 in 2009, attrition was primarily due to erosion of the older policy base,” Donahue said, but as of Dec. 31 of last year the number of all plans totaled almost 9.5 million.

Donahue also said that 2010 saw continued industry consolidation, with 177 carriers staying in the Medicare Supplement market and only 114 carriers reported writing new policies in the last three years.

Source: NAMSA, Mark Farrah Associates