CMS: Medicare enrollment broke 66.7M in November; 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 November 2023:

  • Total Medicare beneficiaries reached 66,769,012...up 52,742 from October.
    • Original Medicare beneficiaries stood at 34,154,582...down -6,507.
    • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries reached 32,614,430...up 59,249
    • Enrollees 65+ reached 59,262,567 (up 39,388)
    • Enrollees under 65 (for various disabilities): 7,506,445 (up 13,354)

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

In fact, from January through November, traditional Medicare enrollment has actually dropped by158,000 enrollees even as Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased by over 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 November 2023, and is clearly set to take over as the default path very soon...likely sometime this 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.