Medicare Advantage plans are covering more people now than they were a year ago, and they have captured a larger share of the Medicare market.

The number of Medicare Advantage plan enrollees has increased to 18 million, up 5.4 percent from the total recorded in early 2015.

The plans serve 33 percent of the 55 million people who are eligible for Medicare, up from 32 percent of 54 million Medicare-eligible people a year ago.

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) has reported those numbers in an analysis based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

See also: Medicare plan business grows again

The Medicare Advantage program, or Medicare Part C program, gives private insurers a chance to use a combination of cash from Medicare and premium payments from enrollees to offer an alternative to traditional Medicare coverage.

MFA analysts also looked at the performance of specific Medicare Advantage plan issuers.

Enrollment at the largest player in the market, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), increased 10.5 percent, to 3.8 million. Six of the nine other issuers with more than 250,000 Medicare Advantage plan enrollees also reported enrollment growth. 

At issuers with fewer than 250,000 Medicare Advantage plan enrollees, the number of members grew an average of 5.6 percent.

See also:

Medicare plan market tilts toward HMOs

Medigap: 3 things to know about 2014 results

 

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