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Molina Is Covering 950 People With COVID-19

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Executives from Molina Healthcare Inc. said Friday that their company has heard of about 950 enrollees being hospitalized with COVID-19 through April 27.

Many of the affected members were in Michigan. Others were in California and Washington state.

Typical hospital stays ranged from five days to a month, and costs ranged from $10,000 per episode to $100,000 per episode.


Joseph Zubretsky, Molina’s chief executive officer, declined to talk about average costs, or median costs.

“With 1,000 cases, you don’t have any statistical credibility,” Zubretsky said.

Zubretsky said Molina started seeing patients with claims for all kinds of respiratory problems early in the first quarter, especially in Washington state and in California.

“This was before COVID was a phenomenon,” Zubretsky said.

Now, he said, Molina believes that flurry of claims was a result of COVID-19 being in Washington and California before anyone thought it was there.

Molina is a Long Beach, California-based managed care company that focuses mainly on running Medicaid plans and other government plans. It also sells individual major medical coverage through the Affordable Care Act public exchange system.

Zubretsky and other Molina executives talked about the COVID-19 cases with securities analysts, during a conference call the company held to go over earnings for the first quarter.


Molina is reporting $178 million in net income for the first quarter on $4.3 billion in revenue, compared with $198 million in net income on $4 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2019.


Molina company ended the year providing or administering health coverage for 3.4 million people, or about as many people as it was covering a year earlier.

Here’s what happened to three types of health plan enrollment, when compared with the year-earlier quarter:

  • Medicaid plans: 3 million (flat)
  • Medicare plans: 105,00 (up from 97,000)
  • ACA public exchange: 329,000 (down from 332,000)

Pandemic Response

Zubretsky reported that substantially all of Molina’s 10,000 employees are working from home.

The company has contributed to many pandemic-related support efforts, such as efforts to help health care providers personal protective equipment; has expanded telemedicine access and enrollee benefits; and has accelerated about $150 million in claim payments.

Like other health insurers, Molina has found that, since the middle of March, patient and provider efforts to postpone elective procedures have decreased the volume of many types of outpatient services about 30% to 50%, and use of diagnostic testing and imaging about 40% to 45%.

Predicting how much of the postponed care will occur, and when, is difficult, Zubretsky said.

“There’s a capacity limitation on how fast things can rebound” Zubretsky said. “There are only so many beds. There are only so many doctors, and there’s only so many hours in a day. And when you have three, four, five or even six months of pent-up demand, it cannot race through the pipe that quickly.”


Zubretsky said Molina wants to have more cash available in this environment than it would normally have on hand.

Molina now has $840 million in cash and access to $900 million from credit facilities, Zubretsky said.

The company is also expecting to get about $500 million in dividends from subsidiaries, Zubretsky said.


Zubretsky said Molina has plenty of liquidity available to pay for good deals.

But “getting something that strategically fits, from a product and geography perspective, and then one that’s actionable, is hard work,” Zubretsky said.

— Read Humana Trying to Help Brokers Cope With Social Distancingon ThinkAdvisor.

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