Employer-Group Medicare Advantage Enrollment Increased 26% Over 4-Year Period


November 17, 2020


Nearly 25.4 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans as of October 1, 2020, representing a growing share of the 62.4 million Americans eligible for Medicare. Individual MA policies acquired through direct purchase policies stood at 20.4 million members as of October 1, 2020. However, while individual policies command the MA market, employer-group retiree programs, also known as Medicare Advantage Employer Group Waiver Plans (MA-EGWP), continue to experience steady enrollment increases. Employer-group Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown to nearly 4.7 million members, an increase of almost 209,000, or 4.7%, since December 2019. Furthermore, group market enrollment has grown by approximately 977,000 members since December 2017.  Group MA currently encompasses 18.4% of total MA market.  In this brief, Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) compares the latest aggregated employer group Medicare Advantage enrollment reports with recent year-end enrollment reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 



Enrollment Trends by Carrier and State

Competition persists within the group Medicare Advantage market segment.   As of October 2020, UnitedHealth has maintained its position at the top of the segment with over 1.3 million members.  However, the company’s group enrollment declined 4.3% since December 2019.  CVS/Aetna grew to over a million enrollees, gaining over 14% YTD in 2020.  Humana and BCBS of Michigan have posted the largest gains in 2020 with each growing approximately 17%.  Kaiser experienced below average YTD growth of 1.2%, allowing Humana to take control of 3rd spot amongst the segment leaders.


Top 5 Medicare Advantage Payers - Group Segment
Membership Trend
 Company  Dec-17  Dec-18  Dec-19  Oct-20
 UnitedHealth 1,148,615  1,295,804  1,388,312  1,328,320 
 CVS/Aetna 547,618  694,752  913,661  1,043,848 
 Humana 428,240  484,402  511,964  598,757 
 Kaiser 525,711  538,304  552,150  558,793 
 BCBS of Michigan 318,675  371,745  378,427  441,058 
Total  2,968,859  3,385,007  3,744,514  3,970,776 
                                    Source: Medicare Business OnlineTM, Mark Farrah Associates, presenting data from CMS enrollment reports


All 5 of the leading group MA health plans achieved sizeable growth in membership over the past 3 years. UnitedHealth added nearly 180,000 enrollees since December 2017, an increase of 15%. CVS/Aetna experienced the second largest growth rate of 90% since December 2017, with a gain of 496,000 members. Overall, the top five companies gained just over 1 million beneficiaries equating to a 34% enrollment increase since 2017.  While not in the top 5, Anthem’s MA presence has grown in many states, most notably in California, Colorado and Connecticut and experienced triple digit growth since December 2017, to 176,000 members, or 808%.   

Between December 2017 and October 2020, the United States and territories experienced a 26% overall growth rate in group MA market enrollment. All the leading ten states by enrollment experienced membership increases with California topping the list at nearly 646,000 members. New Jersey experienced the largest increase of 77% since December 2017, in part due to CVS/Aetna gains within the state.


Top 10 States Medicare Advantage - Group Segment
Membership Trend
 State  Dec-17  Dec-18  Dec-19  Oct-20
 CA 552,221  588,811  624,279  645,847 
 MI 333,653  392,191  404,719  460,609 
 TX 244,097  315,669  324,287  333,383 
 NY 250,598  263,598  270,706  280,206 
 OH 204,936  235,889  237,570  246,419 
 PA 216,773  218,481  223,159  226,085 
 IL 189,044  198,894  203,552  210,576 
 NJ 117,771 122,375  200,281  208,337 
 NC 154,050  178,491  190,236  194,159 
 FL 139,670  163,111  179,954  190,594 
Subtotal  2,402,813  2,677,510  2,858,743  2,996,215 
 All Other States 1,298,878  1,468,865  1,611,517  1,682,898 
Total  3,701,691  4,146,375  4,470,260  4,679,113 
                                    Source: Medicare Business OnlineTM, Mark Farrah Associates, presenting data from CMS enrollment reports


About this Data

This brief is based on an analysis of employer-group enrollment data for Medicare Advantage released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  Mark Farrah Associates’ Medicare Business Online simplifies the tracking of monthly Medicare Advantage and PDP enrollment by competitor.  Enrollment data is updated monthly as soon as CMS releases new data.

About Mark Farrah Associates (MFA)

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) is a leading data aggregator and publisher providing health plan market data and analysis tools for the healthcare industry.  Our product portfolio includes Health Coverage Portal™, County Health Coverage™, Medicare Business Online™, Medicare Benefits Analyzer™, 5500 Employer Health Plus™, and Health Plans USA™.  For more information about these products, refer to the informational videos and brochures available under the Our Products section of the website or call 724-338-4100.

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