Humana Inc. has become an acquisition target thanks to its big presence in Medicare Advantage.
Humana’s individual Medicare Advantage enrollment jumped 15 percent to 2.7 million people in March from a year earlier, and the company has said it expects growth of about 13 percent this year. The insurer is No. 2 in that part of the business behind UnitedHealth Group Inc.
Cigna Corp. has lagged in the Medicare business, and could use Humana to catch up. The company has fewer than 500,000 Medicare Advantage customers, after acquiring HealthSpring Inc. for almost $4 billion in 2012.
Aetna Inc., which has 1.3 million private Medicare members, has also used acquisitions to bulk up. The company acquired Coventry Health Care Inc. for about $8.7 billion.
Humana, based in Louisville, Kentucky, jumped 20 percent to a record $214.65 at the close in New York, giving the company a market value of $32.2 billion. Cigna is valued at $36.2 billion and Aetna is worth $41.2 billion.