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The big get bigger, but at whose expense?

A recent boost in memberships (thanks, Medicaid!) leaves Anthem and UnitedHealthcare very optimistic for 2021 earnings, per Fierce Healthcare.

It seems like the rollercoaster that never drops. As if you couldn’t guess, yes, we’re talking third-quarter earnings for two of the biggest insurers.

Anthem and UnitedHealthcare saw a dramatic increase in memberships – and revenue – according to a recent article in Fierce Healthcare.

They’ve got more members:

  • Anthem’s member roster grew by 2.4 million year-over-year, topping out at 45.1 million in the quarter.
  • United saw a jump too, hitting 50.4 million members in the quarter.

(That equates to 95 million Americans, so there’s a good chance you’re one of them.)

They’ve got more revenue:

  • Anthem’s operating revenue was up to $35.5 billion in Q3 2021, 16 percent over compared to the year prior.
  • United’s revenue jumped 11 percent over last year, hitting $72.3 billion in the quarter.

And they’ve got a brighter outlook:

  • Anthem’s earnings predictions = bigger
  • United’s earnings predictions = also bigger

When the good times keep rolling, companies are sure to let shareholders know. Both are raising outlooks for full-year earnings, meaning they officially predict better 2021 profits than they did last quarter.

It looks like money is no object for these two. So our question for these big insurers is why, then, can’t they pay their bills? We’re also have to ask, are these unchecked profits draining America’s working class?

We think Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., Vice President for Health Care Coverage and Access for The Commonwealth Fund put it best in this testimony from the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance (emphasis ours): “The cost burden in commercial insurance is an enduring problem in U.S. health care that is undermining America’s overall economic well-being.”

The big get bigger, but is it any better for patients? You know where we stand…

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