The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:00 am

Anthem tops 2nd-quarter expectations

Governmental program growth boosts revenue

TOM MURPHY | Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – 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 such as 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 its net income fell 21%, to $1.79 billion, and adjusted earnings totaled $7.03 per share. Operating revenue, which excludes investment income, rose 14%, 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 such as 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 much of this care would eventually take place.

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

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