The fourth-quarter results for Indianapolis-based Anthem were a mixed bag with the company’s net income doubling to $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, as against the payer’s profit during the same period last year. However, the impact of the pandemic was not lost on the results as consumers kept delaying investment in non-essential care second year running. The payer’s annual operating revenue rose more than 13% to $137 billion in 2021 as against the 2020s $121 billion.
- Another year of strong growth: Reacting to the results, Gail K. Boudreaux, President and CEO of the 90,000-strong company, said, “2021 was another year of strong growth for Anthem as we continued our transformation from a health benefits company to a lifetime trusted partner in health.” He continued, “We begin 2022 with ongoing momentum across all our businesses, and we’re confident in our ability to deliver earnings growth consistent with our long-term targeted range as we innovate for consumers and advance our digital platform for health.”
- Steady rise in membership: Medical enrollment rose by 2.4 million to around 45.4 million as on December 31, 2021 which is a jump of 5.7% against the same period last year. The government business enrollment increased by 2.2 million lives compared to the prior year quarter, primarily driven by organic growth in the Medicaid business. Commercial & Specialty Business enrollment rose by 249 thousand year over year primarily driven by strong risk-based membership growth, partially offset by in-group attrition in the group fee-based business.
- Operating revenue at $36 billion: As per results, the payer’s operating revenue stood at $36 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, which is an improvement of $4.5 billion or 14.2% against the same period previous year after adjusting for the repeal of the health insurance tax in 2021. The increase for both the quarter and the full year was driven by higher premium revenue due to growth in Medicaid, Medicare and Commercial risk-based membership.
- Result in numbers: Payer’s government operating gain jumped 25.2% and the commercial business gain grew 2.7% in the same period. The company also realized a benefit expense ratio of 89.5% in the fourth quarter and 87.5% overall for the whole fiscal. The payer also projects medical membership to rise by around 46.2 million this year. It also expects the operating revenue to break the $152-billion ceiling this year.
- Care cost may rise: The company expects the average care cost to rise this year. John Gallina, CFO of the company, said that they were bracing for the current year to bring higher average costs of care, which will be “driven by Covid-related treatment, vaccination, and testing costs.”