As the annual open enrollment period approaches Medicare Advantage plan enrollment continues to inch upwards, with nearly 11.8 million people enrolled as of August 2010, almost 25% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Despite conservative growth strategies, stricter marketing regulations and legislation which reined in popular Private-Fee-For-Service plans, Medicare Advantage companies are still experiencing single digit growth rates, according to a new report by Mark Farrah Associates, a leading provider of market data and intelligence solutions.

Total Medicare Advantage plan enrollment as of August 1, 2010 stands at 11,791,508 for all plan types, nearly 25% of the 47,473,930 Medicare eligibles, according to CMS Medicare Advantage penetration data as of August 2010. Medicare Advantage plans added 619,221 net new members (5.5%) from August 2009 to August 2010. During the same period an estimated 1,420,550 people became eligible for Medicare, an increase of 3.1%.

Eight organizations have more than 250,000 enrollees and cover 56% of the MA market up from 53% in August 2009. UnitedHealth Group and Humana together cover almost 33% of all Medicare Advantage enrollees, up 0.8% from one year ago.

With the first wave of baby boomer scheduled to reach 65 in 2011 and the open enrollment season beginning November 15, 2010, plans are actively preparing for what promises to be an exciting year. MFA clients rely on the Medicare Benefits Analyzer™ (MBA) for comparative analysis of Medicare plan benefits and competitive positioning by geographic market. MBA subscribers have access to more than 80 plan design attributes and co-pays in addition to county-level membership data. MBA also includes detailed star quality ratings data which CMS is more prominently promoting to seniors as important plan selection criteria.

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA)

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