Oct 17, 2018

Insurers go all in on Medicare Advantage

Truck advertising Medicare Advantage

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Medicare’s annual enrollment period started Monday, and health insurers are banking that a lot more seniors and people with disabilities will sign up for private Medicare Advantage plans instead of traditional Medicare coverage.

Driving the news: UnitedHealth Group executives yesterday said earnings per share next year will increase by roughly 13%, due in large part to MA's “extraordinary growth opportunity.”

  • Devoted Health, a startup founded by Todd and Ed Park, just raised $300 million in venture funding as it starts selling MA plans for the first time in eight Florida counties.
  • MA plans are all the rage among hospital-owned insurers, too.
  • MA enrollment increased 8% in 2018, and the feds expect a 12% enrollment bump for 2019.

The bottom line: Both Democrats and Republicans support MA, so the enrollment wave likely won’t subside in the near term. But there are still deep concerns about insurers gaming the program.

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