Look for even more seniors to flock to Medicare Advantage in 2022 as the Biden administration, health insurers and investors bolster this privatized form of health coverage for those 65 and older.
Already, established health insurers including UnitedHealth Group’s UnitedHealthcare, Humana, CVS Health’s Aetna, Cigna and Anthem expanded into hundreds of new counties for this year to sell Medicare Advantage in this increasingly competitive business.
But there have already been signals from annual health insurer investor days and venture capital firms that Medicare Advantage will continue taking a larger share of seniors moving away from traditional Medicare to these privatized MA plans in 2022 and beyond.
“We continue to prioritize our high-growth markets,” CVS Health chief executive officer Karen Lynch said last month during the company’s annual investor day. “Specifically, in healthcare, we’re focused on growing our government businesses, dual eligibles, Medicare Advantage, exchange plans.”
CVS, which owns the nation’s third largest health insurer in Aetna, has 3 million seniors enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans. And these health insurers see a market of more than 10,000 Americans a day turning 65 years old and becoming eligible for Medicare and Medicare Advantage in particular.
Medicare Advantage plans contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines with some also offering vision, dental care and wellness programs.
The Biden administration released new figures last month that showed more than 27 million Americans were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of October 2021. That’s more than 40% of the total Medicare enrollment of 63,964,675.
Startups and smaller health plans are also gaining traction from investors helping them expand in new markets for Medicare Advantage. These startups see a substantial market to work with to convert to a private plan from traditional Medicare.
Take Zing Health, a Chicago-based Medicare Advantage insurer, which its chief executive officer Dr. Eric Whitaker says is focused on creating “superior health outcomes for seniors across underserved communities.”
Increasingly, health insurers are working to address social determinants of health and Zing sees a niche in markets not historically served by Medicare Advantage.
Zing Health last month landed a $25 million investment from Town Hall Ventures and Leavitt Equity Partners, two investment firms focused on healthcare growth companies. “This new infusion of capital will enable Zing to broaden its reach and continue to provide the best quality healthcare to underserved populations,” Zing said in a statement.