Several factors will likely influence shifts in profit pools. Two of these are:
Change in payer mix. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage, and particularly the duals population, will continue to grow. Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown historically by 9 percent annually from 2019 to 2022; however, we estimate the growth rate will reduce to 5 percent annually from 2022 to 2027, in line with the latest Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enrollment data. Finally, the duals population enrolled in managed care is estimated to grow at more than a 9 percent CAGR from 2022 through 2027.
We also estimate commercial segment profit pools to rebound as EBITDA margins likely return to historical averages by 2027. Growth is likely to be partially offset by enrollment changes in the segment, prompted by a shift from fully insured to self-insured businesses that could accelerate as employers seek to cut costs if the economy slows. Individual segment profit pools are estimated to expand at a 27 percent CAGR from 2022 to 2027 as enrollment rises, propelled by enhanced subsidies, Medicaid redeterminations, and other potential favorable factors (for example, employer conversions through the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement offered by the Affordable Care Act); EBITDA margins are estimated to improve from 2 percent in 2022 to 5 to 7 percent in 2027. On the other hand, Medicaid enrollment could decline by about ten million lives over the next five years based on our estimates, given recent legislation allowing states to begin eligibility redeterminations (which were paused during the federal public health emergency declared at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic).
Accelerating value-based care (VBC). Based on our estimates, 90 million lives will be in VBC models by 2027, from 43 million in 2022. This expansion will be fueled by an increase in commercial VBC adoption, greater penetration of Medicare Advantage, and the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) model in Medicare fee-for-service. Also, substantial growth is expected in the specialty VBC model, where penetration in areas like orthopedics and nephrology could more than double in the next five years.
VBC models are undergoing changes as CMS updates its risk adjustment methodology and as models continue to expand beyond primary care to other specialties (for example, nephrology, oncology, and orthopedics). We expect established models that offer improvements in cost and quality to continue to thrive. The transformation of VBC business models in response to pressures from the current changes could likely deliver outsized improvement in cost and quality outcomes. The penetration of VBC business models is likely to lead to shifts in health delivery profit pools, from acute-care settings to other sites of care such as ambulatory surgical centers, physician offices, and home settings.
Payers: Government segments are expected to be 65 percent larger than commercial segments by 2027
In 2022, overall payer profit pools were $60 billion. Looking ahead, we estimate EBITDA to grow to $78 billion by 2027, a 5 percent CAGR, as the market recovers and approaches historical trends. Drivers are likely to be margin recovery of the commercial segment, inflation-driven incremental premium rate rises, and increased participation in managed care by the duals population. This is likely to be partially offset by margin compression in Medicare Advantage due to regulatory pressures (for example, risk adjustment, decline in the Stars bonus, and technical updates) and membership decline in Medicaid resulting from the expiration of the public health emergency.
We estimate increased labor costs and administrative expenses to reduce payer EBITDA by about 60 basis points in 2023. In addition, health systems are likely to push for reimbursement rate increases (up to about 350 to 400 basis-point incremental rate increases from 2023 to 2027 for the commercial segment and about 200 to 250 basis points for the government segment), according to McKinsey analysis and interviews with external experts.
Our estimates also suggest that the mix of payer profit pools is likely to shift further toward the government segment (Exhibit 2). Overall, the profit pools for this segment are estimated to be about 65 percent greater than the commercial segment by 2027 ($36 billion compared with $21 billion). This shift would be a result of increasing Medicare Advantage penetration, estimated to reach 52 percent in 2027, and likely continued growth in the duals segment, expanding EBITDA from $7 billion in 2022 to $12 billion in 2027.