- Insurance giant Anthem reported membership growth across all lines of business during the first quarter compared with the prior-year period. Overall, the Blue Cross Blue Shied for-profit added 1.2 million members, up nearly 3% compared to the first quarter of 2018.
- Membership growth fueled revenue growth of 9.2% to $24.4 billion. Net income jumped 18% to about $1.6 billion, or $5.91 per share, according to results released Wednesday. The Indianapolis-based insurer beat analyst expectations on both revenue and earnings and also raised its outlook for the year .
- Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux said on an investor call the company is in the final stages of preparing for the launch of its own pharmacy benefit manager, IngenioRx, and will begin migrating some health plan members May 1.
Notably absent from Anthem's call with investors was commentary about "Medicare for All." As 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls continue to push for universal health coverage through Medicare, some of Anthem's rivals have waded into the debate.
After watching stocks plummet following its rival's UnitedHealthcare CEO's comments about "wholesale disruption" to the system, Anthem abstained from the conversation during a first quarter call with investors Wednesday and no analyst asked the insurance giant to weigh in.
Centene CEO Michael Neidorff provided vague comments during his Q1 investor call Tuesday about the universal health plan, though he never used the term Medicare for All.
Boudreaux stuck to the basics, touting the quarter as the "strongest risk-based membership growth in nearly a decade." Anthem now covers almost 41 million members.
While membership grew in all lines of its business, the biggest increases came from its government areas, including Medicare Advantage and Medicaid.
Boudreaux said Anthem is on target to meet its MA growth target for the year of more than 20%. Payers across the board continue to see gains in MA enrollment as the population ages and the program offers new options for nontraditional benefit offerings like telehealth.
Amid the shift toward value-based reimbursement for care, Boudreaux said by the end of the year Anthem will have 58% of its medical spend tied to value-based care arrangements, up from 49% in 2017. "Further, in 2019, we expect 30% of value-based care will be tied to shared savings programs, up from 24% in 2018," she said.
Interest in the new PBM offering is continuing to build, she said, noting that attendance doubled at IngenioRx's second client conference earlier this month.
As the debate continues on PBM rebates, Boudreaux noted IngenioRx is prepared to provide point of sale rebates to its commercial risk-based business and Medicare unit in 2020. However, "In our fee-based business, our benefit designs provide flexibility as we believe employers should have a say as part of the broader discussion of value-based care and total health," she said.