CVS Health’s Aetna health insurance business has an aggressive plan to woo more eligible Medicare beneficiaries in 2020 to increasingly popular Medicare Advantage plans.
Aetna’s Medicare Advantage membership is up more than 400,000 enrollees this year to 2.2 million as of the end of the second quarter compared to the end of 2018 when the company reported 1.75 million Medicare Advantage members.
This fall will be the first open enrollment period with Aetna and CVS as a combined company following its merger late last year and executives are ramping up their effort to reach more seniors with 2020 Medicare Advantage benefit packages during what may be the most competitive market in years among insurers. “We’ll provide coverage access to about 80% of Medicare eligible lives,” CVS Health chief executive Larry Merlo told analysts on the company’s second quarter earnings call Wednesday.
CVS and Aetna executives are enticing seniors for 2020 enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans with new benefits that will feature “zero” co-payments for treatments and services at their more than 1,100 MinuteClinics staffed by nurse practitioners. The health insurer is also planning to integrate more health services at new “Health Hub” location stores that CVS is rolling out over the next three years.
Aetna’s expansion into new Medicare Advantage regions is the latest by health insurance companies that sell such plans, which contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines with some also offering vision, dental care and wellness programs.
There’s also a financial benefit to health plans for enrolling seniors in Medicare Advantage plans. A new report out this week from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed “annual gross margins in the Medicare Advantage market averaged $1,608 per covered person between 2016 and 2018, about double the margins in the individual and group markets.”
Date: August 13, 2019