Anthem profit, revenue rise well above expectations

Anthem Inc. reported Wednesday first-quarter profit and revenue that rose well above expectations, boosted by higher premium revenue due to membership growth in Medicaid and Medicare Advantage membership and acquisitions. The health insurer’s stock was still inactive in premarket trading. Net income increased to $1.81 billion, or $7.39 a share, from $1.67 billion, or $6.71 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $8.25 beat the FactSet consensus of $7.85. Total revenue grew 17.6% to $38.10 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $37.34 billion, as premiums rose 18.5% to $32.79 billion. Medicaid membership increased 3.0% to 10.92 million as of March 31 and Medicare Advantage membership grew 3.3% to 1.92 million. Among Anthem’s largest business segments, government revenue increased 23.2% to $23.76 billion and commercial and specialty revenue rose 8.2% to $10.27 billion. The stock has rallied 11.5% year to date, while the S&P 500 has slipped 6.4%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.