Insurers point to Medicare Advantage as they boast about growth

Executives from several companies pointed to the program in their highlights as they discussed their upcoming year at the conference. (Getty/NicoElNino)

A common theme among insurers speaking at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference this week: the boost from Medicare Advantage. Executives from several companies pointed to the program in their highlights as they discussed their upcoming year at the conference. 

Humana officials said they have been beating Wall Street expectations over the past several quarters in part because of their MA business. 

“[2019] is shaping up to be a very, very strong year,” said Chief Financial Officer Brian Kane. “We have revised upward our MA enrollment guidance. We expect individual MA growth this year to be 375,000 to 400,000 members. That’s a 12-13% growth rate. While we don’t have the CMS tape, which tells us how we did relative to the marketplace, our sense is that we’ll pick up meaningful share this year.” 

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As part of its government line of business, Cigna’s CEO David Cordani said Cigna focuses on the individual MA business but sees the group MA business as well as “a future growth opportunity for us.” 

Medicare Advantage enrollment and spending are expected to surge over the next decade, until more than 4 in 10 beneficiaries are in the program by 2028, according to a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The MA enrollment rate is set to grow from 34% in 2018 to 42% over the next 10 years.