Open enrollment period

Expanded Footprints, Enhanced Benefits Aided Plans’ OEP Gains

Medicare Advantage enrollment reached nearly 28.8 million as of May, reflecting an overall increase of about 1% during the three-month Open Enrollment Period (OEP) that ended on March 31, according to the latest update to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans (DHP). That’s compared with growth of 5.3% from October 2021 to February, reflecting results from the Annual Election Period (AEP) that ran from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Beneficiaries who enrolled in an MA plan during the AEP have a one-time opportunity to change their coverage selection during the OEP, and insurers that made above-average membership gains during both periods attributed their successes to product enhancements, geographic expansions and strong distribution partnerships.

UnitedHealth Dominates While Startups Make Gains in 2022 Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Medicare Advantage enrollment grew by about 232,000 lives during the 2022 Open Enrollment Period (OEP), according to CMS’s May data release and AIS’s Directory of Health Plans. As in the Annual Election Period (AEP), UnitedHealthcare dominated, holding 45.1% of the overall OEP gains, followed by CVS Health Corp.’s Aetna at 16.9% and Centene Corp at 13.5%. Among other large, publicly traded insurers, Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc. both flopped in the OEP, losing 12,600 and 4,200 members, respectively. Meanwhile, insurance startups Bright Health and Clover Health both made the top 20 despite recent financial challenges and questioned viability. See the top 25 OEP performers, plus their AEP results and current enrollment, in the chart below.

Segmented, Personalized Outreach Drives MAO Retention Efforts

Medicare consumers are facing an overwhelming variety of resources and plan choices and are showing signs of increased movement during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). As a result, effective member engagement during the OEP and throughout the year is becoming increasingly important and can be achieved through using data to segment membership and deliver targeted, personalized messaging to ensure that a member is in the right plan from the start, industry experts advised during the 13th Annual Medicare Market Innovations Forum, hosted by Strategic Solutions Network, LLC (SSN).

After the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) that typically runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, the three-month Medicare OEP starts on Jan. 1 and allows beneficiaries who selected a Medicare Advantage plan to make a onetime coverage change. This year was the fourth OEP since it was reinstated by the Trump administration after a hiatus, and seniors’ utilization of the renewed opportunity is growing.

ACA Exchange Enrollment Hits Record High

A record 14.5 million people enrolled in Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage from Nov. 1, 2021, through Jan. 15, 2022, including 10.3 million people who live in states using HealthCare.gov and 4.2 million in states with their own marketplace, according to CMS. Three states — Kentucky, Maine and New Mexico — transitioned to their own state-based exchanges for the 2022 plan year. Among the 33 states using HealthCare.gov, all but Hawaii saw an enrollment increase for 2022 compared with 2021, with eight experiencing signup surges of more than 30%.

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News Briefs: More than 14M Sign Up for ACA Plans | Jan. 14, 2022

With the annual open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act marketplace plans about to close, HHS reports that more than 14.2 million people have signed up for plans since the OEP started on Nov. 1, 2021. That figure includes 10 million people selecting or being automatically enrolled in plans on HealthCare.gov through Jan. 12 and 4.2 million on the state-based marketplaces as of Jan. 8. The federal OEP for 2022 plans ends Jan. 15 — making it a month longer than signup periods during the Trump administration. HHS also released a report that detailed how the expansion of premium subsidies under the American Rescue Plan Act has led more customers to choose plans with lower deductibles.

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2022 Outlook: This Year, ‘Smooth Sailing’ Appears Likely for ACA Exchanges

For health insurers that operate in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, 2022 is shaping up to be a relatively stable, profitable year with few regulatory surprises, health policy experts tell AIS Health. Still, there will be some regulatory uncertainty that plans must grapple with as well as a newly proposed rule effective in 2023 that imposes tighter controls on benefits and network design than even the Obama administration attempted.

That regulation is the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) 2023 Proposed Rule, released by the Biden administration on Dec. 28. Perhaps the biggest change included in the annual omnibus exchange rule — the move to require standardized ACA marketplace plans — was already known to the industry but still promises to make a significant impact.

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News Briefs: Centene Completes Acquisition of Magellan Health | Jan. 6, 2022

Centene Corp. completed its $2.2 billion acquisition of Magellan Health, Inc. The previously announced deal will allow Centene to expand its behavioral health platform, increase its specialty health and pharmacy capabilities, and enhance its ability to address members’ whole health. Magellan Health will operate independently under Centene’s Health Care Enterprises umbrella, with CEO Ken Fasola and other members of Magellan Health’s leadership team continuing to lead the organization, Centene said on Jan. 4.

Biden Admin Touts Record Marketplace Open Enrollment

Sign-ups for health plans on the individual exchanges have hit a record high six weeks into open enrollment, according to CMS: 13.6 million people have enrolled in coverage for 2022, with a month still left to go in the annual open enrollment period. That includes 9.7 million who have enrolled in HealthCare.gov plans, which is the federal platform used by 33 states, and 3.9 million who have enrolled via the 18 state-based marketplaces.

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News Briefs: Centene CEO Neidorff to Retire | Dec. 17, 2021

Centene Corp. Chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff plans to retire in 2022 from his role as chief executive, although he will serve as executive chairman of the insurer’s board of directors until the end of next year. Centene’s board “will be responsible for appointing a new CEO following a thorough selection process, including evaluating internal and external candidates with the support of an external search firm,” the company said on Dec. 14. In September, Centene promoted Sarah London to the role of vice chairman for its board of directors, and some industry analysts speculated that could put her in a position to succeed Neidorff, who has been Centene’s CEO since 1996.

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