In reversal, CVS expects double-digit Medicare Advantage growth in 2023

CVS Health is expecting big growth in its Medicare Advantage membership by the end of 2023, setting a different tone compared to the company's disappointment in "low- to mid-single-digit-percentage" growth late last year.

"Our Medicare business remains one of our strongest growth segments," President and CEO Karen Lynch told investors during the company's first-quarter earnings call May 3. "We do plan to get back to market growth in our individual MA product for a number of reasons." 

At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January, Ms. Lynch said the open enrollment period in late 2022 was "highly competitive" and resulted in disappointing individual MA growth at Aetna, the company's insurance arm.

Aetna's national PPO MA plan also received a 3.5-star rating from CMS in 2023, losing out on eligibility for bonus payments. 

During the May 3 call, Ms. Lynch said CVS now expects MA membership to grow 12 percent by the end of this year — as of March 31, the company had 3.4 million MA members, 1.3 million supplement members and 6.1 million Part D plans.

In September, Aetna will begin administering MA benefits to more than 200,000 New York City retirees and eligible dependents, one of the largest contracts in Aetna's history, according to Ms. Lynch.

She said the company's return to individual MA market growth in 2024 will also be supplemented by two additional Marquee Group MA contracts serving 45,000 retirees and eligible dependents.

Ms. Lynch also said CVS' recent acquisitions of Dallas-based Signify Health and Chicago-based Oak Street Health will help the company improve Star ratings and navigate risk adjustments changes from CMS.

"Aetna, Signify Health, and Oak Street are the right combination of assets to successfully manage through these changes," she said. "We will also introduce a Star's enablement offering that will provide meaningful benefits for all payers.

"I'm encouraged by what we're seeing on the internal metrics relative to our Stars performance."

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