As Medicare Advantage enrollment soars and the number of individual MA plans available across the U.S. reaches a new high for 2022, the MA Special Needs Plan market is also seeing continued growth. According to estimates from Clear View Solutions, LLC, there will be 926 plans available next year that were offered in 2021, compared with 766 plans that carried over from 2020 to 2021 (see infographic). Dual Eligible SNPs (D-SNPs), in particular, will rise from 477 plans offered in 2020 and 2021 to 569 plans available this year and next, according to the consulting firm’s analysis of the 2022 SNP Landscape files from CMS.
Like the other publicly traded insurers that reported third-quarter 2021 earnings late last month, select Medicare Advantage insurers in early November demonstrated strong performances during a quarter that was tainted by a rise in COVID-related costs. Unlike its more balanced peers, however, MA-focused Humana Inc. took a decidedly conservative approach to projecting earnings for the full year given continued COVID uncertainty.
Of the newly public startup insurers that reported third-quarter 2021 earnings, all four posted higher (worse) medical loss ratios (MLRs) compared with the prior-year quarter — a direct result of higher COVID-related costs. The two insurers with a focus on Medicare Advantage, however, demonstrated wildly different experiences, with Clover Health Investments Corp.’s MLR clocking in at 102.5%, while Alignment Healthcare, Inc.’s 85.7% MLR was more in line with those of the larger, established insurers.
From 2017 to 2021, the number of people enrolled in Special Needs Plans (SNPs) grew 69.2%, topping 4.1 million lives, according to the latest update to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans. D-SNPs saw the most growth, a whopping 79.3% increase to 3.7 million lives, followed by I-SNPs (+31.9%), then C-SNPs (+16.6%). Meanwhile, plans have grown to meet that surge, with the total number of SNP offerings expanding from 498 to 926 plans in the same time period, per an analysis of CMS’s Landscape files from Clear View Solutions, LLC.