Medicare Part D enrollment levels out

Insurance benefits

Enrollment in Medicare stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDP) grew 3.8 percent year over year, although that represents a significant drop from the 14.7 percent increase between February 2012 and February 2013, according to newly released findings from Mark Farrah Associates (MFA).

The Medicare Part D market has 62 participating organizations as of February 2014, but six companies control 80 percent of market. UnitedHealthcare, with 22.1 percent of the market, covers the largest number of PDP subscribers--5.1 million people.

Rounding out the top six are CVS Caremark, Humana, Express Scripts, Aetna and Cigna. Each covered more than 1 million PDP members as of last month, according to MFA.

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Since Aetna acquired Coventry Health Care, the combined enrollment of PDP subscribers fell 17.5 percent from February 2013. Humana, on the other hand, experienced the largest enrollment boost, adding 580,259 members as of February. The insurer now holds 16 percent of the Medicare Part D market.

"It appears the conversion of employer plans resulted in a onetime spike and now that most have converted to managed care plans, overall enrollment gains for PDP plans has leveled off," Debra A. Donahue, a vice president at MFA, said Wednesday in a statement.

Last fall, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana exited the Medicare Part D market. The move affected about 13,000 seniors enrolled in the Blue Cross BlueRx prescription plans, which the company offered since 2006.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Obama administration dropped proposed changes to Medicare Part D after facing strong opposition. The draft revisions to Medicare C and D regulations intended to fight fraud and save the program about $1.3 billion over five years. However, patient groups, pharmaceutical manufacturers and lawmakers from both parties pushed back against changes, maintaining the program didn't need fixing.

For more:
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