Anthem Inc. posted a sharply higher profit in its fourth quarter, as revenue grew faster than expenses and the insurer saw higher Medicaid membership.
The company said it expects 2017 adjusted net income per share to be greater than $11.50. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect $11.53 a share.
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In the latest quarter, total medical enrollment grew 3.4% to 39.9 million from a year ago. Enrollment in its commercial and specialty business increased 2.4% from a year earlier to 30.4 million members, while members in its government business grew 6.9% to 9.5 million.
In all, the company posted a profit of $368.4 million, or $1.37 a share, up from $180.9 million, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, earnings were $1.76.
Revenue climbed 7.6% to $21.7 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast per-share earnings of $1.61 on revenue of $20.92 billion.
Medicaid membership rose 10% from the prior-year period to 6.5 million in the quarter. Revenue from premiums grew 7.4% to $20.2 billion.
Anthem's medical benefit ratio -- the amount of premiums used to pay patient medical costs -- was 87.2% in the first quarter, up from 87.0% a year earlier. The climb was largely driven by higher medical costs, notably in Iowa, which exceeded the impact of premium-rate adjustments and higher membership in the Medicaid business, which carries a higher benefit expense ratio than the company average. The company also said that higher medical cost in the individual business added to costs.
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