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1.3 million join Medicare-managed plans in US


20 November, 2007  

More than 1.3 million people have enrolled in managed care plans in the USA over the last year, taking the total number of Medicare beneficiaries up to 8.8 million.

A healthcare business strategy brief by consultancy Mark Farrah Associates, based on analysis of Medicare data provided by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, found that private-fee-for-service plans gained the most members over the year.

The greatest growth rate among Medicare Advantage plan-types was in the new regional preferred provider organisation plans, which increased membership by more than 130% over the year.

Enrollment in stand-alone prescription drug plans continued to climb as well, with more than 17 million members by last month.

Health maintenance organisations still dominate the Medicare Advantage landscape but have lost market share in the past year, dropping from 74.1% to 65.5% in that time.

PFFS plans have gained the most market share, growing from 11% to 19.3% of total enrollment.

Analysis of the data also revealed that the top 10 Medicare Advantage companies account for 58% of national market share.

UnitedHealth Group retained its market-leading position despite continuing losses in enrollment and a decline in market share between October 2006 and October 2007.

UnitedHealth’s top two competitors, Humana and Kaiser Permanente, also lost market share over the year, though not to United’s extent.

The leading gainers were Universal American and Coventry Health Care, which have grown in part through acquisitions since October 2006.

MFA