Medicare Advantage in the headlines: 15 recent updates

October is a busy month for Medicare Advantage, with the beginning of open enrollment and CMS announcing plans' star ratings. 

Here are 15 updates about the program Becker's has covered since Oct. 6. 

  1. U.S. News and World Report named its top Medicare Advantage insurers in every state, based on CMS' star ratings.  

  1. The number of firms offering retiree health benefits through Medicare Advantage has risen 26 percentage points since 2017, according to KFF. 

  1. Elevance Health is expecting to lose around $500 million in revenue in 2025 as a result of declining Medicare Advantage star ratings, CEO Gail Boudreaux said. The percentage of Elevance Health members enrolled in contracts rated at four stars or higher will decline from 64% in 2023 to 34% in 2024. 

  1. Starting in 2024, all of Humana's Medicare Advantage plans designed for veterans will be co-branded with USAA. 

  1. Marketing and broker incentives are putting smaller insurers at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with big Medicare Advantage payers, Security Health Plan CEO Krista Hoglund told the Senate Finance Committee. 

  1. Alignment Healthcare will offer co-branded Medicare Advantage plans with Walgreens in four states for 2024. The plans will be available to 1.6 million Medicare-eligible adults in some counties in Texas, California, Arizona and Florida. 

  1. Fewer than 10% of Medicare Advantage plans received star ratings below three for 2024. Here are the contracts receiving fewer than three stars for 2024, along with their total enrollment. 

  1. CVS Health delivered on its claims that its Medicare Advantage star ratings would improve for 2024. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 87% of Aetna's Medicare Advantage membership will be enrolled in contracts rated at four stars or higher by CMS in 2024, up from 21% in 2023. 

  1. UnitedHealth Group expects to add around 1 million Medicare Advantage and commercial members by the end of 2023. 

  1. CMS gave 31 Medicare Advantage five-star ratings for 2024, the highest rating for quality and member satisfaction awarded by the agency. Here are the contracts that received top ratings from CMS for 2024, along with their total enrollment. 

  1. CMS' overall average star ratings declined slightly for Medicare Advantage plans for plan year 2024. The average Medicare Advantage star rating for 2024 is 4.04, down from 4.14 in 2023. Around 74 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees will be in a plan rated four stars or higher in 2024, up from 72 percent in 2023. 

  1. Fredericksburg, Va.-based Mary Washington Healthcare will not offer its Medicare Advantage plan in 2024. The plan's third-party administrator will not provide services in 2024, the primary reason for the plan's closure, the outlet reported. 

  1. The average older adult has dozens of Medicare Advantage plans to choose from, and many turn to brokers to help them make a decision about the best option for them. Insurers pay commission to brokers enrolling new and returning members in their plans, but in a competitive market, these commissions are climbing too high, Michael Bagel, associate vice president for public policy at the Alliance of Community Health Plans, told Becker's. 

  1. Cleveland-based University Hospitals is launching a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan with PrimeTime Health Plan. 

  1. St. Charles Health System in Bend, Ore., will no longer be in-network with Humana and Centene subsidiaries HealthNet and WellCare Medicare Advantage plans in 2024. In an Oct. 6 news release, the health system cited "continued, unresolved concerns about patient care and administrative burden" as the reason for the break. 

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