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The Medicare Bubble Has Burst

May 20, 2024
The Wall Street Journal
Summary
The Medicare Advantage program, which once spurred significant profits for private insurers, is facing financial challenges due to policy changes and rising medical costs post-COVID. Insurers like UnitedHealth, Humana, and CVS Health, which heavily invested in this sector, are seeing declines in profitability and share performance. Key policy adjustments from the Biden administration aimed at curbing overcharging and gaming of the system have reduced payment rates, leading to a reassessment in the market. While spending on Medicare Advantage is projected to continue growing, insurers are adjusting strategies, focusing on profit margins over membership growth. Despite the present downturn, the program is not expected to diminish, although shifts in regulatory policies and potential political changes could influence its future profitability.
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