UnitedHealth Group said it will expand its Medicare Advantage health plan offerings to seniors in 100 new counties next year in what has become the most competitive business for health insurance giants.
UnitedHealth said its UnitedHealthcare insurance business will “offer more than 100 new plans as it expands its offerings to reach an additional 1.2 million people in 100 new counties.” The insurer currently sells individual Medicare Advantage plans in more than 1,700 counties but that will grow to more than 1,800, the insurer said.
“In 2020, 90% of people eligible for Medicare will have a choice of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans, nationwide,” the company, which is the nation’s largest health insurer, disclosed in an announcement Tuesday morning.
UnitedHealth said the expansion will include more plan choices in existing markets and sales of individual Medicare Advantage plans in North Dakota and South Dakota for the first time. Thus, UnitedHealth will offer Medicare Advantage in 47 states in 2020, up from 45.
Insurers are announcing their expansions in new regions ahead of the annual open enrollment period when seniors eligible for Medicare can choose new benefits or stay with their existing plans. Such changes can be made during Medicare’s open enrollment, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
UnitedHealth is among the established health plans and startups looking to take advantage of new rules that allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer more benefits to seniors. UnitedHealth’s expansion into new Medicare Advantage regions is the latest expansion for such plans, which contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines with some also offering vision, dental care and wellness programs.
Practically every health insurance company already selling Medicare Advantage has already announced or is looking at new expansions for 2020 and beyond including Aetna, Anthem, Centene, Cigna and Humana. And now insurers are rolling out more supplemental benefits in their Medicare Advantage plans following rule changes implemented.
“In 2020, we will provide enhanced benefits and services that deliver on people’s expectations for plans that offer convenient care and support, a customized wellness experience and predictable, affordable costs,” said Tim Noel, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “We are privileged to serve our members through a variety of plan choices, the nation’s largest health care network, stable and reduced premiums and personalized service to support people in their individual health.”