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Up, up, and away: Anthem’s expectations for membership growth soar

Despite an already impressive growth in membership, Anthem is adding more to its expected year-end goals, reports a July 21 article in Healthcare Dive. Wondering how? Us, too!

Once again, Anthem ups their expectations for revenue, earnings, and membership growth.

Anthem’s expectations come a little early, from our perspective, considering that patient care took a nosedive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since last year, the story has been that insurers’ profits will even out when care stabilizes – a hypothesis yet to be realized.

So, when is this “evening out” supposed to happen? Anthem continues make a profit and expects bigger returns ahead. Is there something else at play behind the scenes?

According to the article, a large part of the growth is due to government contracts – largely Medicaid and Medicare. These government contracts significantly add to Anthem’s membership footprint. Despite these increased numbers, the insurer says that they aren’t expecting a huge surge in care. While Anthem does expect utilization to tick up in the third and fourth quarters, per a Healthcare Dive article, Anthem’s own CEO, Gail Boudreaux, does not anticipate a “surge” in care demand.

While the clock keeps ticking and insurers keep passing the buck on patient care, we feel a reckoning is ahead. Winter is coming. We know that if patients are not getting the healthcare they need now, their chronic conditions will only continue to exacerbate.

Anthem executives seem convinced there won’t be a surge, but we have to wonder – what happens if they’re wrong? Will Anthem and its fellow carriers be ready to let some of those record-breaking profits go when the patients show up needing care?

Someone is going to cash that check eventually – but who is it going to be?

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