While Medicare Advantage plans added nearly 900,000 members in 2016, enrollment grew at a slower pace than in recent years. Still, experts say the future of the program will be lucrative for insurers.
“It's the only safe game in town, in all of health insurance,” said John Gorman, a former CMS official who is now a healthcare consultant in Washington.
Enrollment in the private, managed-care version of Medicare grew 5% to nearly 18.7 million in the 12 months since Dec. 1, according to the latest federal data. By contrast, it was up 6.8% at the end of 2015 and 9.8% in 2014.
UnitedHealth Group, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and Aetna still hold the throne for the most Medicare Advantage plan members. Enrollment in UnitedHealth's Advantage plans grew 13.2% to just shy of 4 million members.