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Medicare Advantage Enrollment Is Booming: Anthem

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Executives at Anthem Inc. say the latest Medicare plan annual enrollment period was great.

Medicare Advantage program enrollment increased to 1.2 million at the end of 2019, up 21% from the total at the end of 2018.

“Our momentum is carrying over into 2020,” Anthem Chief Executive Officer Gail Boudreaux said Thursday, during a conference call with securities analysts. “We saw solid growth during the annual enrollment period. We expect our membership growth rate to continue to lead  the industry for the fourth year in a row.”

Resources

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fast Search compan,y filing search tool is available here. Enter a company’s stock symbol (such as, ANTM, for Anthem) in the search form to see the official earnings filings.
  • A link to an article about Medicare Advantage plan enrollment is available here.

Anthem is generating strong Medicare Advantage plan sales because the company has strong brand recognition and strong supplemental products, Boudreaux said.

Anthem Inc. is a giant, Indianapolis-based carrier that holds the Blue Cross license, the Blue Shield license, or both, in many in states, including California and New York state.

The Medicare Advantage program gives commercial carriers a chance to sell plans that serve as an alternative to use of what Medicare program managers call Original Medicare. The annual enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Flu

John Gallina, Anthem’s chief financial officer, said during the call that Anthem’s medical loss ratio, or ratio of benefits paid to revenue, has been at the high end of what the company had projected.

“The flu season started earlier than normal, resulting in more flu costs than expected in the fourth quarter,” Gallina said.

Gallina did not go into detail about how the flu season has affected claims.

The Results

Anthem held the analyst call to go over earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 with securities analysts.

Anthem streamed the call live on the web and has posted a recording in the investor relations section on its website.

Anthem is reporting $934 million in net income for the fourth quarter on $27 billion in revenue, compared with $424 million in net income for the fourth quarter on $23 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Anthem ended year providing or administering health coverage for 41 million people, up from 40 million people a year earlier.

Here’s what happened to the number of people covered by specific types of Anthem health coverage products between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the latest quarter:

  • Individual Commercial: The number of holders of commercial individual coverage increased to 684,000, from 655,000.
  • Medicare Advantage: Enrollment increased to 1.2 million, from 1 million.
  • Medicare Supplement: The number of insureds increased to 905,000, from 846,000.
  • Self-Funded Employer Plans: The number of covered people increased to 25.4 million, from 25.3 million.
  • Fully Insured Employer Plans: The number of covered people increased to 16 million, from 15 million.
  • Dental: The number of covered people increased to 6 million, from 5.8 million.
  • Vision: The number of covered people increased to 7.3 million, from 6.9 million.
  • Life and Disability: The number of covered people increased to 5.3 million, from 4.8 million.

— Read The New Earnings Season Starts Wednesday, on ThinkAdvisor.

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