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U.S. government proposes higher payments to Medicare insurers in 2021

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NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Wednesday proposed an increase of 0.93% on average in its 2021 payments to the health insurers that manage Medicare Advantage insurance plans for about 22 million people aged 65 or older or disabled.

The government will finalize the rate in April.

UnitedHealth Group Inc, Humana Inc, Anthem Inc, CVS Health Corp and Centene Corp are among the largest players in the Medicare Advantage market in which private insurers are paid a set rate by the government to manage member healthcare.

The government payment rates affect how much insurers charge for monthly premiums, plan benefits and ultimately, how much they profit. Medicare Advantage covers about one-third of the people enrolled in the government's Medicare program. (Reporting by Caroline Humer and Carl O'Donnell; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot)