Apr 5, 2022 - Health

Medicare Advantage insurers get a pay bump

A health cross with money at its base.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Private insurers who administer Medicare Advantage plans can expect a 5% average increase in federal payments next year — half a percentage point above what the Biden administration proposed in February.

Why it matters: The pay bump in the controversial program marks a big win for insurers like UnitedHealth Group and Humana and doused speculation the administration would break with a trend of strong recent increases.

  • The MA plans’ total expected revenue, factoring other changes, would rise 8.5% in 2023, compared to a 7.6% increase in 2022, per the announcement.

Zoom out: More than 28 million seniors and people with disabilities were enrolled in a private MA plan at the beginning of this year, an 8.8% increase from the same time in 2021.

  • Critics worry that insurers and private investors are gaining a growing share of federal Medicare dollars and boosting profits, not patient care.
  • Six health insurers control roughly three-quarters of the MA market, an Axios analysis of federal data found earlier this year.
  • Insurers say Medicare Advantage delivers better services, better access to care and better value than traditional Medicare.

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