Thursday, November 19, 2020

Medicare Advantage Growth in the Great Plains States

The Medicare open enrollment period is now underway through December 7th. During this period, many Medicare beneficiaries will contemplate switching their Medicare coverage to a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. MA Plans are an increasingly popular type of health plan offered by private insurers as an alternative to original Medicare.  MA plans are offered through private insurers that contract with the federal government to provide an alternative to Medicare Part A and Part B benefits coverage. What gives MA plans their growing appeal is that private insurers have been able to bundle these Part A and Part B benefits with a variety of extra benefits, at little to no cost to enrollees.

Given lower costs and extra benefits, Medicare Advantage plans can provide great value compared to Original Medicare.  The extra value offered by MA plans is made possible, in part, by requiring plan participants to use narrower provider networks and to comply with managed care protocols that are not found with Original Medicare coverage.  While MA Plans can come in various insurance models, the most popular MA plans feature PPO and HMO structures.  Despite managed care requirements and fewer provider choices, more and more Medicare eligible seniors are switching to Medicare Advantage plans because of the value they offer.  As of October 2020, across all 50 states there were about 24 million Americans enrolled in MA plans, an increase of more than 40% in the past 4 years.  During this same timeframe, total Medicare enrollment across all 50 states has grown only about 10%, so the faster MA plan enrollment growth has translated into a growing share of the Medicare market for MA plans, from just 30% four years ago to 39% today.

The growing popularity of Medicare Advantage plans is even more evident in the Great Plains states, where MA enrollment over the past four years has grown over 82%, nearly double the growth rate nationally. Here is a closer look at Medicare Advantage growth in the Great Plains states over the last four years:

Medicare Advantage Growth in the Great Plains States
Medicare Advantage Growth in the Great Plains States

Medicare Eligible (in thousands) MA Enrollment (in thousands) % Growth
State 2020 2016 2020 2016 Eligible MedAdv
IA 639.7 588.7 149.0 92.5 8.7% 61.2%
KS 548.1 500.2 116.5 70.7 9.6% 64.8%
MN 1,050.7 949.8 454.4 160.5 10.6% 183.1%
MO 1,251.5 1,167.7 506.0 349.7 7.2% 44.7%
NE 354.8 324.0 68.0 38.3 9.5% 77.5%
ND 135.0 121.5 6.4 2.0 11.0% 220.0%
SD 181.1 162.1 17.4 8.3 11.7% 109.8%
GP Only 4,160.8 3,814.1 1,317.8 722.0 9.1% 82.5%
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, check out our resource page Medicare Advantage Enrollment Growth.