Medicare Advantage Enrollment: 30% Increase Since Obamacare

More than 14 million Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans, up 30 percent since 2010 in spite of concerns about payment changes enacted in the Affordable Care Act. Whether this trend continues, and its implications, remains a key issue for Medicare. reports on Medicare Advantage plans across the country and provides enrollment and payment numbers.

The information here is from a recent Kaiser Family Foundation brief on Medicare Advantage:

While about 28 percent of Medicare beneficiaries nationally are now enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, the share varies greatly by state — ranging from 49 percent in Minnesota to less than 1 percent and 3 percent in Alaska and Wyoming.

98% of Medicare beneficiaries have access to a MA-PD with no premium, but only 55% were enrolled in a zero-premium plan in 2013.

In Arizona, most MA plans are $0 premium.

All Medicare Advantage plans have a limit on out-of-pocket spending with $6,700 being the highest. Almost half of all Medicare Advantage enrollees are in a plan with a limit at or below $3,400 per year.

Maximum out-of-pocket, or MOOP:  In Arizona only narrow-network MA plans have MOOP below $4,000.  United’s AARP Medicare Complete Plan 1 is the exception to this rule with a large network and a $3,900 MOOP in Pima County.

United Healthcare has the largest market share in 20 states and is among the top three firms in an additional 17 states and the District of Columbia. Humana has the largest enrollment in 12 states and is among the top 3 in another 17 states. BCBS affiliates have the most enrollment in 7 states (AL, HI, ID, MI, NC, OR, and PA) and are among the top three firms in another 15 states.

90 percent of United Healthcare enrollees are in zero premium plans, including 90 percent of their HMO enrollees and over half of their enrollees in all other plan types.

While such data do not reveal the reasons for these differences and some of it probably reflects geographic variation in firm markets, it probably also reflects firms’ target market niche and their marketing strategy.


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