Medicare Advantage enrollment is approaching 31 million lives as of February 2023, a 7.4% increase from this time last year, according to AIS Health’s analysis of data that included enrollment from the 2023 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP). And while CMS says MA enrollment now represents about half of the total Medicare population, the rate of that growth seems to be slowing down — AIS’s analysis of the 2022 AEP recorded an 8.5% annual increase, and a 9.9% increase in 2021.
Of the 2.1 million people new to Medicare Advantage this year (AIS’s collection of AEP data excludes some Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles, see note below), 81.8% selected a plan from one of the five largest payers — UnitedHealthcare, Humana Inc., CVS Health Corp.’s Aetna, Elevance Health, Inc. and Kaiser Permanente. These five payers enroll 69.6% of the overall market. UnitedHealthcare alone scooped up more than 875,000 members year-over-year, compared to No. 2 Humana’s 456,000. Aetna and Elevance, meanwhile, both saw annual increases of more than 7%. And while Cigna Healthcare’s MA business pales in comparison to other publicly traded insurers, the payer’s 106-county expansion seems to have paid off, netting 15,000 new members. Last year, it lost more than 6,000. Not every large insurer fared well in the AEP, however. Centene Corp.’s enrollment dropped by more than 90,000 lives after a poor showing in 2023’s Star Ratings.