Humana balked at the 2022 Medicare Advantage market: Do other payers agree?

Humana slashed its Medicare Advantage enrollment outlook nearly in half Jan. 6, forcing payers and their stakeholders to reflect on what the market will hold in 2022. 

In Humana's SEC filing, the payer cited "higher than anticipated" terminations during the previous open enrollment period, pointing to a member retention issue. Humana, the second largest Medicare Advantage payer in the country, expects between 150,000 and 200,000 new members this year. 

Anthem, which released its 2021 fourth quarter earnings Jan. 26, said it expects double-digit growth in the Medicare Advantage, according to Bloomberg. CEO Gail Boudreaux called the Medicare Advantage landscape "a very consistent competitive environment."

UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty dismissed Humana's concerns during the company's fourth quarter earnings call on Jan. 19, saying the payer's outlook for 2022 was "super positive," according to MarketWatch

However, Tim Noel, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement, said the Medicare Advantage market has grown increasingly competitive over the past few years.  

In 2021, Cigna, Centene and Clover Health each expanded into at least one new state for 2022, and Aetna broadened its $0 plan offerings. CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch called Medicare Advantage a "high-growth" market, and one that it wishes to capitalize on.

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