CMS: Medicare enrollment hits 65.5M as of December 2022; Medicare Advantage up to 46% of total

Hmmm...this is a bit odd. Every month for years now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) has published a monthly press release with a breakout of total Medicare, Medicaid & CHIP enrollment; the most recent one was posted in late February, and ran through November 2022.

For the December update, however, they haven't sent out the normal press release; instead, they included a brief note leading to a Medicaid/CHIP data slideshow which I summarized yesterday, along with another note leading to their new Medicare Monthly Enrollment database.

In any event, according to the spreadsheet I exported, as of December 2022:

  • Total Medicare beneficiaries reached 65,489,211...up just 56,592 from November.
    • Original Medicare beneficiaries reached 35,206,920 (up 31,976)
    • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries reached 30,282,291 (up 24,616)
    • Enrollees 65+ reached 57,657,744 (up 32,896)
    • Enrollees under 65 (for various disabilities) reached 7,831,467 (up 23,696)

With the historic numbers available, I've put together a simple graph showing how both Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage enrollment has changed over the past 4 years. The trend is gradual (aside from a sudden one-time jolt from December 2021 to January 2022...not sure what caused that) but steady: Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased from 35.5% of all Medicare enrollment to 46.2% as of December, and while its growth rate has slowed over the past year, it's still on course to hit 50% of all enrollees within the next 4 years, give or take.

Obviously whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective, but unless there are significant policy changes, it's pretty much inevitable that Medicare Advantage will be the default choice for the program by ~2028 or so.