Sunday, October 25, 2020

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Growth in the Southeast

With the Medicare open enrollment period underway through December 7th, many Medicare beneficiaries will be weighing a switch to a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Medicare Advantage Plans are an increasingly popular type of health plan offered by private companies as an alternative to original Medicare.  MA plans are offered through private insurance companies that contract with the federal government to provide an alternative to Medicare Part A and Part B benefits coverage. With a MA Plan, the U.S. government basically pays a stated amount to a private company to provide a Medicare eligible individual with a health plan that, at a minimum, matches Original Medicare Part A and Part B benefits.  What gives Medicare Advantage plans their appeal is that private companies have been able to bundle Part A and Part B benefits, plus a variety of extra benefits, into their plans at little to no cost to enrollees.

With typically lower costs and additional benefits, MA Plans can be a great value compared to Original Medicare.  The added value that comes with a Medicare Advantage plan is frequently made possible, in part, from the imposition of managed care protocols and restricted provider networks not found with Original Medicare.  While MA Plans can come in a variety of insurance models, the most popular Medicare Advantage plans feature health maintenance organization and preferred provider organization structures.  Even with managed care protocols and fewer provider choices, more and more Medicare eligible seniors are gravitating to the value MA plans offer.  As of October 2020, in all 50 states there are about 24 million Americans enrolled in MA plans, an increase of more than 40% in the past 4 years.  During this same period total Medicare enrollment in all 50 states has grown only about 10%, so MA plan market share in the Medicare market has been growing robustly, from a 30% share four years ago to 39% today.

The growing popularity of MA plans nationally is mirrored in the Southeast, where Medicare Advantage plan enrollment over the past four years has grown nearly 46%, in comparison to national MA enrollment growth of just over 42% during the same time period.  Here is a look at state-by-state Medicare Advantage enrollment growth in the Southeast over the last four years:

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Growth in the Southeast
Medicare Advantage Enrollment Growth in the Southeast

Medicare Eligible (in thousands) MA Enrollment (in thousands) % Growth
State 2020 2016 2020 2016 Eligible MedAdv
AL 1,063.4 991.4 489.6 262.2 7.3% 86.7%
AR 647.0 609.0 194.5 125.3 6.2% 55.3%
FL 4,667.9 4,172.8 2,295.3 1715.1 11.9% 33.8%
GA 1,776.2 1,585.9 771.5 529.6 12.0% 45.7%
KY 945.1 882.7 366.6 240.1 7.1% 52.7%
LA 891.5 817.7 376.8 257.4 9.0% 46.4%
MS 612.0 574.3 147.8 89.8 6.6% 64.7%
NC 2,038.4 1,829.7 830.6 561.9 11.4% 47.8%
SC 1,104.6 977.5 355.2 230.3 13.0% 54.3%
TN 1,385.4 1,269.6 593.6 452.3 9.1% 31.2%
VA 1,549.9 1,404.1 382.4 204.3 10.4% 87.1%
WV 443.4 424.9 154.4 106.4 4.4% 45.1%
SE Only 17,125 15,540 6,958 4,775 10.2% 45.7%
All States 61,584 55,972 24,050 16,909 10.0% 42.2%

For a summary look at MA plan enrollment growth in other states, visit our resource page Medicare Advantage Enrollment Growth.