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Life Health > Health Insurance

Medicare plan business grows again

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Health insurers have increased the number of private Medicare plan enrollees they cover in the past year, in spite of complaints about changes in the way the government pays insurers.

Overall Medicare Advantage plan enrollment rose 8.3 percent between March 2014 and March 2015, to 17.3 million, according to analysts at Mark Farrah Associates.

Enrollment at carriers with more than 250,000 Medicare Advantage enrollees rose 8.2 percent, to 11.6 million.

The big players continued to cover about 67 percent of all Medicare Advantage program enrollees.

The Mark Farrah analysts have based those figures on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data.

See also: Medigap enrollment grows

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) continued to be the market leader, with 3.4 million enrollees. It increased enrollment 8.5 percent.

Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), the second-biggest issuer, increased Medicare Advantage enrollment 13.2 percent, to 3.2 million.

The big player with the most rapid growth, Health Net Inc. (NYSE:HNT), increased enrollment 16.2 percent, to 294,824.

Other Mark Farrah findings:

  • In the ordinary commercial health insurance market, preferred provider organization (PPO) plans have come to dominate the market. In the Medicare Advantage market, health maintenance organization (HMO) plans continue to be the dominant players. HMOs now cover about 62 percent of all Medicare Advantage plan enrollees.

  • UnitedHealth, Humana, Aetna (NYSE:AET) and Kaiser Permanente each cover a total of about 2 million people through employer-sponsored group health plans or retirement health benefit plans.

 See also: 2015 Medigap outlook [Infographic]


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