Anthem Becomes Second Insurer to Ease 3Q MLR Worries

Anthem, Inc.’s third-quarter 2021 financial results — combined with UnitedHealth Group’s strong showing less than a week earlier — have helped to ease investors’ concerns about the Delta variant’s potential impact to insurers’ medical costs, according to equities analysts.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer said on Oct. 20 that its medical loss ratio (MLR) was 87.7% for the quarter, beating the Wall Street consensus of 88.4%. Anthem’s “government business drove MLR upside, with commercial earnings below expectations — consistent with the pandemic pattern of more persistent commercial utilization and more COVID sensitivity/deferred care in Medicare/Medicaid,” Evercore ISI analyst Michael Newshel pointed out in a note to investors.

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Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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