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.

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 18,570,858 — Total deaths: 701,316 — Total recoveries — 11,163,388Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 4,771,846 — Total deaths: 156,839 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 58,239,438Map.
  3. Public health: Moderna skirts disclosures of coronavirus vaccine costs — There’s not much good news about kids and coronavirus.
  4. Business: Auto sales may have turned a corner.
  5. Sports: The return of high school sports hangs in the balance — UConn becomes first FBS team to cancel its football season.

Shale's struggles will persist despite a rise in oil prices

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WTI, the benchmark U.S. oil future, traded Wednesday morning at its highest since early March — highlighting how shale's crisis is seemingly over, though more bankruptcies likely lie ahead.

Why it matters: Its price at the time — $43 — is still too low for many producers to do well, though it varies from company to company.

Facebook launches its TikTok rival, Instagram Reels

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook-owned Instagram on Wednesday launched its answer to the popular karaoke app TikTok, whose future remains in limbo.

The big picture: Facebook has a long record — sometimes successful, sometimes not — of adopting features that have proven popular on rival platforms and rolling them out to its billions of users worldwide in an effort to avoid being eclipsed by younger upstarts.