Choice Stories

May 3, 2018

Health Carriers Report Mixed Financial Results for Q1

Highlights/Key Takeaways
  • Higher revenue was reported by most of the country’s leading insurers in Q1.
  • Kaiser Permanente, California’s largest health plan by membership, continued to attract more members during the quarter – regionally and nationally.
  • Oscar Health, which will join CaliforniaChoice later this year, reported its first-ever profit in Q1 2018.

The country’s leading health insurers reported mixed financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Among the publicly traded insurers that offer coverage through the CaliforniaChoice small business, multi-carrier private exchange, it was a positive start to the year.

Anthem: Increased Income on Similar Revenue

Anthem, Inc., the parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country (including Anthem Blue Cross in California) had high net income for Q1. The company earned $1.3 billion in the quarter on revenue of $22 billion. That compares to $1 billion in income in Q1 2017 on similar revenue. Membership was 2.5 percent lower – 37 million nationwide – during the quarter as compared to 2017. Medicare plan growth increased 16 percent, while other enrollment was lower. Individual major medical coverage fell to 755,000 members nationally as compared to 1.9 million in 2017.

Centene: Dramatic 12-Month Growth

Centene, the parent organization of California-based Health Net and managed care Medicaid plans across the country, reported $338 million in net income on $13 billion in revenue. That is up significantly from $139 million in net income, on revenue of $12 billion, in 2017. At the quarter’s end, the St. Louis-based insurer was providing or managing health care for 13 million people.

UnitedHealth: Greater Earnings, Increased Cash

UnitedHealth Group, Inc., the parent of UnitedHealthcare, had a Q1 2018 profit of $2.84 billion, an increase from $2.17 billion a year earlier. Earnings per share were up sharply to $3.04 a share, from $2.37 per share last year. Revenue for the quarter was up 13 percent, much of it attributable to the health insurance and health services businesses (operating under the Optum brand). Cash flow and earnings were also positively affected by the company’s reduced income tax under the reform signed by President Trump in late 2017.

Other Results

Although not a publicly traded insurer, the non-profit health plan Kaiser Permanente also released information on its results for the first quarter. The company reported increased Q1 revenue and operating income for its nonprofit hospital and health plan businesses. Operating revenue was up about 12 percent to $20.3 billion, as compared to $18.1 billion during Q1 2017. Kaiser Permanente, California’s largest health plan, saw its membership grow to 12.2 million members nationwide, up 472,000 from the end of 2017.

Oscar Health, which operates in California and five other states nationwide, announced its first-ever profit. Oscar had Q1 2018 premium revenue of $300 million, three times that in the same quarter last year. Net profit was $7.4 million for the quarter. Oscar, which launched in 2012 and entered the California group market this year, will be offering small group coverage through CaliforniaChoice this fall.

Your Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Small Business Employee Benefits Program

Do you need help choosing the right health benefits for your employees?
This guide can help!