July 21, 2021

Medicaid Growth Helps Insurer Anthem Beat Q2 Expectations

FILE - In this May 14, 2019, file photo signage on the outside of the corporate headquarters building of health insurance company Anthem is shown in Indianapolis. Anthem topped second-quarter expectations, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, even though the health insurer’s profit tumbled as patients who hunkered down last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic started seeking care again. - AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

FILE - In this May 14, 2019, file photo signage on the outside of the corporate headquarters building of health insurance company Anthem is shown in Indianapolis. Anthem topped second-quarter expectations, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, even though the health insurer’s profit tumbled as patients who hunkered down last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic started seeking care again.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File
TOM MURPHY  - AP Health Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Anthem topped second-quarter expectations even though the health insurer's profit tumbled as patients who hunkered down last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic started seeking care again.

Growing enrollment in government-funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare Advantage helped Anthem balance the jump in care use. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer also booked more revenue from its IngenioRx business, which runs pharmacy benefits.

Overall, Anthem said Wednesday that its net income fell 21 percent to $1.79 billion, and adjusted earnings totaled $7.03 per share. Operating revenue, which excludes investment income, rose 14 percent to $33.28 billion.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of $6.34 per share on $33.15 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. covers more than 43 million people in several states, including big markets like New York and California. Its IngenioRx business also brought in about $6.2 billion in revenue during the quarter.

Health insurer profits soared last year after the pandemic set in and patients canceled or postponed elective surgeries and other non-COVID-19 care. But insurance executives predicted that much of this care would eventually take place.

Anthem's benefit expense jumped 27 percent in the recently completed second quarter to nearly $25 billion. But enrollment in state and federally funded Medicaid plans that Anthem manages climbed 19 percent to 9.7 million people.

That was helped partly by a suspension of state attempts to recertify the eligibility of people with Medicaid coverage during the pandemic.

Anthem also said Wednesday that it now expects its full-year adjusted net income to be greater than $25.50 per share, up from a previous forecast for earnings surpassing $25.10 per share.

The new outlook tops the average analyst forecast for $25.26 per share, according to FactSet.

Company shares rose 1.4 percent to $395.45 in early trading. The stock has already climbed 21 percent since the beginning of the year and 51 percent in the last 12 months.

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