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UnitedHealth Expands Offers to Tap Medicare Advantage Market

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Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read
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UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH will expand its Medicare Advantage (MA) health plan offerings to seniors in 291 new counties next year, in what is quickly becoming a competitive business proposition for health insurance giants.

The company is growing this business line  by expanding its Medicare Advantage (MA) policy offerings for the 2021 MA enrollment season which begins Oct 15 and runs through Dec 7. Plans selected during that time will begin on Jan 1, 2021.

UnitedHeath has a fair share of the Medicare Advantage market, which is monopolized by Humana Inc. HUM and Centene Corp. CNC followed by Aetna. which is a unit of CVS Health Corporation CVS.

However, the growing attractiveness of this market is drawing UnitedHealth to grab a greater pie of the lucrative MA market. An aging U.S. population and bipartisan support from the government made the MA market a potential place to be in. MA plans are  the private version of the government sponsored Medicare plans. The company currently has more than 6.5 million subscribers in its Medicare Advantage plans and is present in 2300 counties. Margins provided by the MA plans are almost twice the ones offered by individual and commercial group plans. And this high-margin business makes every health insurer vie for a pie of this promising MA market.

Thus the company will foray into the MA markets in three new states during 2021. These are Michigan, Delaware and Mississippi.

UnitedHealth is broadening its offerings to take advantage of new rules that allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer more benefits to seniors.

Among a provision of many other attractive features, the most enticing ones are: $0 MA premiums in 2021 for 2.5 million members and almost all will see stable or reduced premiums; $0 copays for telehealth visits, labs, routine vision and hearing exams, colonoscopies, mammograms and cardiac rehab; a monthly cap on insulin at $35 among others.

The company’s MA membership has been growing consistently over the past several years. The current enhanced offering and entering of new states and counties mark the company’s largest Medicare Advantage business expansion in five years. In the first six months of 2020, MA accounted for nearly 35% of the company’s total revenues and the same grew 10% year over year.

The company’s growing MA business should aid the company’s top line.
Year to date, the stock has rallied 12.2% compared with the industry’s growth of 4.2%.

UnitedHealth carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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