Anthem Inc. (ANTM) topped market estimates on revenue and earnings for the third quarter of 2018 and raised its outlook for the full year of 2018. Shares rose 3% in early trading hours on Wednesday.
Total operating revenues grew 4% to $23 billion from the previous year, driven by premium increases to cover cost trends and the health insurance tax, as well as growth in Medicare.
Reported net income grew 29% to $960 million, or $3.62 per share, from the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EPS grew 44% year-over-year to $3.81.
Medical enrollment amounted to around 39.5 million members at quarter-end, down from 40.3 million in the prior-year period. The decrease was driven by a reduced footprint in the Individual ACA-compliant marketplace and membership losses in Local Group and Medicaid. This was partially offset by enrollment growth in Medicare, helped by acquisitions and organic growth in existing counties.
The benefit expense ratio was 84.8%, down 220 basis points in the prior-year quarter, driven by the return of the health insurance tax in 2018 and enhanced medical cost performance in the Commercial & Specialty Business. Days in Claims Payable was 38.7 days at quarter-end.
Anthem recorded a 9.2% decline in operating revenue in its Commercial & Specialty Business segment while the Government Business segment and Other segment posted increases of 15% and 38%, respectively.
Based on its performance year-to-date, Anthem raised its guidance for the full year of 2018. While the outlook for operating revenue remains unchanged at $91 billion to $92 billion, the company now expects GAAP EPS to be greater than $14.46 per share and adjusted EPS to be greater than $15.60 per share.
The company had previously guided for GAAP EPS to be greater than $14.20 per share and adjusted EPS to be greater than $15.40 per share.
The guidance for medical membership remains the same at 39.9 million to 40.1 million, but benefit expense ratio is now expected to be in the range of 84.2% plus or minus 30 basis points versus the previous range of 84.4% plus or minus 30 basis points.
On Tuesday, Anthem declared a dividend of $0.75 per share for the fourth quarter of 2018, payable on December 21 to shareholders of record on December 5.
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