Medicare Advantage Enrollment is Rising Across the Country

October 03, 2022

Medicare Advantage enrollment is increasing across the country, and it could skyrocket to new record highs. The Medicare program has expanded beyond what the government offered several decades ago. Among other changes, the Medicare Advantage option became a possibility in 2003, after former President Bill Clinton signed Medicare+Choice into law in 1997.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment: The Plans

These plans cover the same essentials as Part A and Part B but offer additional coverage services.

Rising Enrollment Numbers

Studies revealed that about half of Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Medicare Advantage plans. In the first half of 2022 alone, enrollment saw an 8% increase. It means that just over 28 million people have enrolled in one of these plans. Compared to enrollment 10 years ago, only 27% of all those enrolled in Medicare had an Advantage plan.

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

There are several reasons why enrollment could be climbing among beneficiaries. Federal spending has gone up, but this corresponds to the growth Advantage plans have been seeing. However, the expenditure is also trying to combat affordability and pricing challenges. The most practical reason for the rise in enrollment numbers is the extra benefits, cost sharing, out-of-pocket limits, and premiums. There are also several plan options. These include:

  • Health Maintenance Organization Plans
  • Preferred Provider Organization Plans
  • Private Fee-for-Service Plans
  • Special Needs Plans

Two other plans could be available, but many do not entirely choose these options. These are the Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan and HMO Point of Service Plans.

Who’s Enrolling in Advantage Plans

Individuals across the country signed on for plans because of the different eligibility options with Advantage plans. Around two-thirds of enrollees are those signing up with an individual plan, with another 18% of beneficiaries enrolling through their union or employer. As many individuals choose to work longer than the traditional retirement age, enrollment through employers or unions could continue to rise. Around 16% of the Advantage enrollees are using Special Needs plans, though most of these individuals have dual eligibility for both Medicaid and Medicare.

There isn’t a specific pattern for enrollees across the country, although several states have a higher proportion of enrollees. These include Idaho, New Mexico, West Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, South Carolina, and Indiana. There are also several insurers with a large number of Advantage enrollees. United Healthcare has just under eight million enrolled, with Human coming in around five million insured. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans total nearly four million, and CVS Health has approximately three million insured.

Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan supplements the coverage offered by traditional Medicare. People can use these plans for coverage of additional services to gain prescription drug coverage.

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