Medicare Advantage enrollment continued to climb in 2022

Medicare Advantage growth continued to accelerate in 2022, an updated analysis from Chartis found. 

Early numbers provided to Chartis by CMS indicated that MA growth had slowed in 2022, but updated data from the agency show there are 2.7 million new Medicare Advantage members enrolled for 2023 coverage, up from 2.3 million in 2022. 

Atul Pathiyal, president of payer advisory services at Chartis, told Becker's the continued growth is a reflection of two factors: the growth of the overall senior population and the increasing popularity of Medicare Advantage's features. 

Chartis published its updated MA enrollment report March 23. 

"We don't see any reason for it to not grow. The trends have been pointing in this direction for several years, and this year is no different," Mr. Pathiyal said.

The previous data from CMS also showed MA growth declining in a few states for 2023, but the revised report shows every state added more MA members. 

Markets are becoming increasingly concentrated 

Chartis' report found that in many of the 10 most populous states, markets are becoming more concentrated. 

UnitedHealthcare accounted for 44 percent of enrollment growth for 2023, and Humana accounted for another 21 percent. 

Mr. Pathiyal said though UnitedHealth and Humana are dominant players, most plans are growing. 

"In terms of what they're doing to achieve that growth, I think it comes back to how increasingly complex this market is, and the requirements for a plan to have a clear strategy on how to address market conditions, plan design options, and how the plan ensures quality to be competitive," he said. 

Startup plans also added members in 2023, growing by 22 percent overall, according to Chartis' data. Devoted Health accounted for two-thirds of this growth. 

As Medicare Advantage continues to grow, plans need to understand the populations they serve on a more sophisticated level, Mr. Pathiyal said. 

"The variety of needs and preferences across these individuals is wide-ranging, so coming up with plan options that are perceived as attractive is critical. I would also say there are changes to the stars program for quality as well as risk adjustment, so those are important dynamics that need to be factored into a health plan's strategy," he said.

"Always, for this program to be successful, for a plan to be successful, you need to have a clear game plan for how to control costs," Mr. Pathiyal added.

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