Health insurers post huge gains in private Medicare Advantage plans for seniors

Health insurers post huge gains in private Medicare Advantage plans for seniors

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  • Large health insurance companies have seen hundreds of thousands of new sign-ups for Medicare Advantage plans.
  • 2020 candidate Kamala Harris's healthcare plan uses Medicare Advantage as a template.
  • However, Medicare officials and Department of Justice investigators are worried that taxpayers are being overcharged for the program.
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Some of the largest health insurance companies continue to grow their Medicare Advantage membership at or above expected levels, just as Kamala Harris released a plan that would make the program the template for the US health care system.

The bottom line: Medicare Advantage is a money spigot for insurers these days, my colleague Bob Herman writes. But federal Medicare officials and investigators at the Department of Justice are concerned the industry is overcharging taxpayers to run the program.

By the numbers: In Q2 earnings reports, insurers have reported hundreds of thousands of new people signing up for individual and employer-backed Medicare Advantage plans.

  • UnitedHealth Group: 5.2 million, up 8% year over year
  • Humana: 4 million, up 14%
  • Anthem: 1.2 million, up 25% (partly due to an acquisition of a MA firm)

Cigna, which faced federal sanctions over its MA plans a couple years ago, remains smaller with fewer than 500,000 enrollees.

  • But executives pleased Wall Street yesterday by saying the company will find a way to increase its MA membership by 10% next year and as much as 15% annually by 2021.

Go deeper: Government health care is a growing part of insurers' revenues

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