Medicare Advantage Enrollment Soars Past 26 Million in Latest AEP

Approximately 2.4 million people enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan from February 2020 to February 2021, bringing the total MA population to 26.3 million medical lives. That’s a 9.9% year-over-year increase, according to AIS Health’s analysis of data from the 2021 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP). While the AEP was strong overall, the top 10 MA insurers continue to dominate the market, with 62.7% of all new enrollees selecting a plan from UnitedHealthcare, Humana Inc. or CVS Health Corp.’s Aetna. Meanwhile, Centene Corp.’s completed acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. allowed it to jump from No. 10 to No. 6, more than doubling its 2020 headcount. See a complete breakdown of the top 10 payers’ results below. No state saw any MA losses from 2020 to 2021, with 10 seeing increases of more than 20%, including several states with historically low penetration rates, such as Delaware, Maryland and Vermont (see map below).

NOTES: Per AIS’s research methodology, above analysis does not include about 430,000 lives enrolled in CMS’s Financial Alignment Initiative demonstration plans for Medicare-Medicaid Dual Eligibles.
*Enrollment figures represent the sum of Kaiser’s seven regional managed care organizations.
†Enrollment data includes Centene’s acquisition of WellCare, which closed in January 2020.
‡Anthem, Inc. entered an agreement to acquire InnovaCare Health’s Medicare and Medicaid assets in February 2021. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

SOURCE: DHP, AIS’s Directory of Health Plans. Visit for more information.

© 2024 MMIT
Carina Belles

Carina Belles

Carina has been covering public-sector health care since 2018. As a data reporter for Radar on Medicare Advantage, she creates infographics and data stories on issues impacting Medicare, Medicaid and Part D. She also develops AIS Health Daily, a free daily newsletter that showcases AIS’s strong reporting across our four publications and parent company Norstella’s suite of market access and data solutions. Prior to joining the editorial team, she managed Medicare and Medicaid data for the Directory of Health Plans, AIS’s industry-standard health coverage database. She graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Journalism.

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