The number of Medicare Advantage enrollees grew fastest in Alabama, Florida and Texas. (Image: CMS)

Overall Medicare Advantage program enrollment increased 7.6 percent between February 2016 and February 2017, to 19.6 million.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. accounted for about 800,000 of the 1.4 million additional enrollees, according to a new analysis from Portland, Maine-based Mark Farrah Associates.

Enrollment at UnitedHealth’s Medicare Advantage plans jumped 22 percent, to 4.6 million.  

Related: Medicare Advantage issuers gain market share

The Medicare Advantage program gives private insurers a chance to offer an alternative to traditional Medicare coverage for people who sign up for both Medicare Part A hospitalization coverage and Medicare Part B outpatient and physician services coverage.

The Medicare Advantage program now covers 34 percent of the 58 million people who have Medicare coverage.

Mark Farrah Associates created the new program enrollment analysis using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Mark Farrah has posted the analysis here.

UnitedHealth increased the number of Medicare Advantage enrollees it serves faster than any other issuer, and it also led in terms of market share. In February, it served about 24 percent of Medicare Advantage program enrollees.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana Inc., the issuer with the second biggest share, served about 17 percent of the program enrollees. It increased its enrollment 3.9 percent between February 2016 and February 2017, to 3.3 million.

A carrier had to have more than about 250,000 Medicare Advantage enrollees to show up in the top 10. Enrollment at those carriers increased an average of 8.7 percent, year over year.

Enrollment at smaller issuers grew 5.5 percent.

Mark Farrah analysts also looked at state-level enrollment data. The number of enrollees grew fastest in Alabama, Florida and Texas. In each of those states, February 2017 enrollment was more than 100,000 higher than February 2016 enrollment.

Related:

Medicare Advantage sales boom in Illinois and North Carolina

Managed Medicaid plans whip commercial plans

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