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Health Insurance Giant Anthem Shrugs Off COVID-19 Claims

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What You Need to Know

  • Commercial individual enrollment rose 9.7%.
  • Commercial group enrollment increased 4.6%.
  • The number of life and disability members fell 6.6%.

Anthem Inc. — a giant health insurer — performed well in the third quarter, despite the effects of the COVID-19 delta variant surge on U.S. hospitalization rates.

For the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, Anthem is reporting $1.5 billion in net income for on $36 billion revenue, up from $222 million in net income on $31 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2020.

Health plan enrollment was up, and Medicare Advantage plan enrollment was up 31%.

Anthem’s results, and UnitedHealth’s strong third-quarter results, mean that U.S. health insurers continue to look as if they’ve gotten through the worst pandemic since the catastrophic 1918 flu pandemic without facing much financial impact.

Anthem holds the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licenses for Indiana, Ohio, New York and many other states.

Gail Boudreaux, the CEO of the Indianapolis-based company, said in a comment included in the earnings announcement that she believes that customers like Anthem’s products and that company has momentum.

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“Our deep connection to the communities we serve, commitment to advancing a digital platform for health and our differentiated approach to addressing the whole health of the people we serve has underpinned our strong performance despite the challenging environment due to COVID,” Boudreaux said.

Enrollment

Anthem ended the third quarter providing or administering health coverage for 45 million people, 5.7% more than it was covering a year earlier.

Here’s what happened to the number of people covered by specific types of Anthem health coverage products between the third quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021:

  • Individual Commercial: 769,000 (up from 701,000)
  • Medicare Advantage: 1.9 million (up from 1.4 million)
  • Medicare Supplement: 947,000 (up from 933,000)
  • Self-Funded Employer Plans: 19.4 million (down from 19.5 million)
  • Fully Insured Employer Plans: 3.9 million (up from 3.8 million)

The number of life and disability members fell 6.6%, to 4.7 million.

Enrollment in the company’s dental plans increased 4.4%, to 6.6 million, and enrollment in dental plans that Anthem administers, rather than insures, increased 13%, to 1.5 million.

Gail Boudreaux (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg)