CMS: Medicare enrollment broke 66.6M in October; Medicare Advantage reached 48.9% of total

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.

Since December 2022, however, they haven't sent out the normal press release; instead, they included a brief note leading to a Medicaid/CHIP data slideshow , along with another note leading to their new Medicare Monthly Enrollment database.

In any event, according to the spreadsheet I exported, as of October 2023:

  • Total Medicare beneficiaries reached 66,614,757...up 77,101 from September.
    • Original Medicare beneficiaries stood at 34,060,153...up 4,402.
    • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries reached 32,554,604...up 72,699
    • Enrollees 65+ reached 59,086,305 (up 65,616)
    • Enrollees under 65 (for various disabilities): 7,528,452 (up 11,485)

The most significant takeaway here is that traditional Medicare enrollment continues to be flat, while Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment continued to increase..putting Medicare Advantage enrollment at 48.9% of the total.

In fact, from January through October, traditional Medicare enrollment has actually dropped by over 240,000 enrollees even as Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased by nearly a million people.

Over the past 5 years, Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased from 35.5% of all Medicare enrollment to 48.9% as of October 2023, and is clearly set to take over as the default path very soon...likely sometime next year. Obviously whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective, but unless there are significant policy changes to one or both, it's pretty much inevitable.