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Analysis

Anthem Beats on Revenues and Earnings Thanks to Membership Growth

By Jack O'Brien  
   January 29, 2020

The Indianapolis-based insurer is also ahead of the market on value-based arrangements, according to an analyst.

Anthem Inc. rode strong membership growth to beat its revenue estimates in its latest earnings report released Wednesday morning

Anthem reported its medical enrollment totaled 41 million members at the end of 2019, up 1.1 million members year-over-year. The company benefited from its government business enrollment segment, which increased by 854,000 members year-over-year.

The Indianapolis-based insurer also posted operating revenues of $27.1 billion in Q4 2019, with full-year operating revenues of $103.1 billion, both representing double-digit growth compared to this time last year.

Additionally, Anthem's net income per share was $3.62 and its full-year net income per share was $18.47, both above prior estimates.

Related: Anthem Reports $1.18B in Net Income, Operating Revenue Rises 15%

Looking ahead, Anthem projects its net income for 2020 will be greater than $21.44 per share and its adjusted net income will be greater than $22.30.

C-SUITE PERSPECTIVE: 

"Anthem delivered strong results to close out 2019 featuring the successful launch of IngenioRx, as well as our largest organic risk-based growth in more than a decade," Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem, said in a statement. "We have strong momentum moving into 2020 and we will continue to deliver on our commitments to all those we serve." 

Jeff Becker, a senior analyst at Forrester, told HealthLeaders that while Anthem beat its estimates for revenue and earnings, the company's medical loss ratio (MLR) of 89% remains on the higher end of the range.

Becker said this raises concerns but noted that Anthem has worked to remedy its MLR issues with a "mix of technology and vertical integration strategies."

"The insurer launched its IngenioRx line of business which should help it bring down its pharmaceutical costs," Becker said. "From a value-based care perspective, Anthem is ahead of the market with 60% of its reimbursements being tied to value-based arrangements." 

He also added that Anthem reported its member wellness platform now hosts two million members and has led to a 12% reduction in hospital use and a 10% reduction in emergency room use.

One of the more significant developments for Anthem during Q4 was that leaders on Capitol Hill announced the launch of a probe into the company and other insurers related to surprise billing practices. 

Related: Bipartisan Investigation Into Surprise Billing Practices Expands

Despite the positive earnings report, Anthem's stock was trading down around 4% during the early morning session.

ADDITIONAL ANTHEM Q4 EARNINGS REPORT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • In Q4, Anthem posted an operating cash flow of $1.3 billion, an increase of nearly $500 million year-over-year.
  • The company's Q4 dividend was $0.95 per share, up nearly 20% year-over-year.
  • Anthem repurchased 1.2 million shares of common stock in Q4 for $306 million.
  • The insurer's 'other' business segment, which includes IngenioRx, produced $3.8 billion in revenues for Q4.

For complete financial information, review Anthem Inc.'s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included a quote that indicated Anthem is part of Civica Rx. This story has been updated to reflect that Anthem is not part of Civica Rx.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Murcia, Spain; Oct 23, 2018: Anthem logo in phone with earnings graphic on background. Anthem, Inc. is an American health insurance company - Image / Editorial credit: Pedro Martinez Valera / Shutterstock.com


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