Humana projects sharp decline in Part D membership

Humana building
Humana expects to lose 750,000-800,000 Part D members next year. (Humana)

Humana expects as many as 800,000 members to drop off its standalone Medicare Part D plans next year thanks to stiffer competition.

The insurer revised its 2019 guidance on Wednesday to include Part D membership losses of 750,000-800,000 members, up from an initial estimate of 500,00. It would be a 16% decline in the insurers’ current membership.

“The net decline is primarily attributable to the competitive nature of the industry and the pricing discipline the Company is employing, which has resulted in it no longer being the low-cost plan in any market for 2019,” Humana said in a financial filing.

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The company currently has just over 5 million members in its prescription drug plans, but membership has been steadily declining. The insurer lost 275,000 between 2017 and 2018.

However, Humana also expects to add as many as 400,000 members in its Medicare Advantage plans next year in what would be a 13% increase over 2018 membership.

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Humana raised its guidance, estimating net membership growth will increase by 350,000 to 400,000, up from its previous range of 250,000 to 300,000. The revised guidance represents an 11%-13% increase over 2018 membership, which is slated to exceed 3 million.

Humana attributed the increase to “higher than forecasted retention of existing members” during the annual election period “as well as higher than anticipated sales.”

The company’s biggest rival, UnitedHealth, disclosed on Tuesday that it expects to add 400,000-450,000 members in 2019. Currently, UnitedHealth serves 4.9 million members.