KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Anthem Reports Higher-Than-Expected Enrollment Numbers

Anthem's strong 2016 forecast has given a boost to its peer group, with the four largest insurers seeing a bump in market value. In other news from the industry, the CEO of Aetna predicts the Humana deal will close this year and says he will not withdraw from the public health exchange market.

The Wall Street Journal: Anthem Says It Enrolled More Members Than Expected In 2015
Health insurer Anthem Inc. offered 2016 earnings guidance roughly in line with analyst expectations and said it enrolled more members than it expected last year. The company said in its filing that it enrolled a slightly more-than-expected number of customers in 2015. Anthem said 2015 enrollment is expected to be about 38.6 million members, above the 38.3 million to 38.5 million range it predicted in October. (Beilfuss, 1/12)

Reuters: Anthem Targets $3B In Drug Cost Savings With Express Scripts
Anthem Inc. could save $3 billion annually on drug costs from a re-pricing provision in its current contract with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co., the health insurer's chief executive officer said Tuesday. Anthem said it is working to renegotiate the contract this year to avoid overpaying for pharmaceuticals based on current market conditions. It first announced that it was going to rework the contract about two years ago, but it has not previously disclosed an estimate on the cost savings from the move. (Humer and Kelly, 1/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Anthem’s Rising Tide Lifts Health Insurer Boats
With a strong forecast for 2016 results, Anthem helped ease investor angst around health insurance stocks. Anthem said Tuesday during a presentation at the J.P. Morgan healthcare conference that it expects adjusted earnings per share of “greater than” $10.80 in 2016, before any costs associated with its acquisition of Cigna. That floor, which would mark more than a 6% increase over last year’s expected earnings, was close enough to the analyst consensus of $10.87 to lift its stock. (Grant, 1/12)

Reuters: Aetna CEO Sees Humana Deal On Track To Close This Year
Aetna Inc Chief Executive Mark Bertolini said on Tuesday that he still expects the company's $37 billion acquisition of rival Humana Inc to close this year. The deal is being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has been seeking documents about Aetna's and Humana's business as it assesses how the deal, and a pending $47 billion combination of Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp, could affect consumers. (Humer, 1/12)

Reuters: Aetna CEO Says He Is Not Giving Up On Public Insurance Exchanges
The chief executive of Aetna Inc. on Tuesday said the health insurer is not about to withdraw from the public health exchange market, even after losing money on the business last year. "We believe it is incredibly important, in the business we're in, that we insure all Americans," Chief Executive Mark Bertolini said. "We believe we have an obligation to stick it out and work with it until we know that it won't work. And I believe it is too early to give up on this process." (Kelly, 1/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.