Health insurer Anthem raises profit forecast for 2021 after strong second quarter

The office building of health insurer Anthem is seen in Los Angeles, California on February 5, 2015. REUTERS / Gus Ruelas

July 21 (Reuters) РHealth insurer Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) raised its 2021 profit target slightly on Wednesday and posted a 15.7% increase in second-quarter sales in part thanks to the increase revenues from its unit, which includes its activity of managing Ing̩nioRx pharmaceutical services.

The company said it expected to earn more than $ 25.50 per share in 2021, compared to its previous estimate of more than $ 25.10.

Most U.S. health insurers have been cautious in their outlook for 2021 as they anticipate more uncertainty due to the impact of viral variants and new outbreaks of infection in parts of the country, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates.

Biggest rival UnitedHealth Group (UNH.N) last week raised its adjusted profit forecast for 2021 for the second time this year, but stuck to its expectations of recording $ 1.80 per hit share of COVID-19. Read more

Anthem said its benefit expense ratio – the percentage of premiums paid for medical services – worsened to 86.8% from 77.9% a year earlier. Analysts were expecting an average of 87.78%, according to data from Refinitiv IBES.

The increase is due to an increase in healthcare costs unrelated to COVID and COVID from relatively depressed levels in the same quarter a year ago, the company said.

Excluding items, Anthem earned $ 7.03 per share in the second quarter ended June 30.

Operating revenue from the company’s pharmacy benefits management business jumped 18% to $ 6.22 billion from a year earlier.

Report by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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