Anthem seeing higher Medicaid member engagement through Sydney app

Anthem headquarters
Anthem released its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday morning. (Anthem)

Anthem is seeing an uptick in engagement through its Sydney app, executives told investors on Wednesday.

The health insurer launched Sydney in late 2019, and the tool allows users to track their benefits and claims, as well as connects them with provider data. For people who use fitness trackers, the app can sync to those tools and track their goals.

Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux said on the company's earnings call that as of the second quarter of 2021, 30% of the Medicaid members who have signed on with the platform are active users. This represents a five-fold increase in engagement compared to previous member-facing tools, she said.

In addition, 32 national accounts have signed on with Sydney's Find Care feature, which offers personalized provider recommendations and pricing data.

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Boudreaux said another area where the company is seeing significant digital engagement is its provider platforms.

"Digital is also playing a key role in deepening our value-based care penetration and provider enablement," she said.

The insurer's recently-launched partnership with Epic, for example, embeds clinical data in the physician workflow and enables providers to share that data with the health plan more effectively.

Boudreaux said that 150 provider systems are on the "glide path" to using that platform by 2022, and that Anthem is in talks with other health tech companies for similar partnerships to facilitate greater interoperability.

Anthem is boosting its earnings forecast on the back of $1.8 billion in profit for the second quarter.

That bottom-line figure represents a drop of about 21% from the second quarterly of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurers across the board raked in massive earnings in the prior-year quarter; plummeting care volumes pushed profits so high that Congress got involved.

Anthem posted $33.9 billion in revenue for the quarter, up nearly 16% from the $29.3 billion reported in the second quarter of 2020.

The insurer's results for the second quarter surpassed Wall Street's expectations for both profit and revenue, according to predictions from Zacks Investment Research.

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“We continued to deliver on our commitments to our stakeholders while making considerable progress against our long-term strategy during the second quarter, all while navigating an uncertain environment due to the pandemic,” said Boudreaux in a statement.

Through the first half of 2021, Anthem brought in $66.2 billion in revenue, up 12.5% from the first half of 2020, where the company reported $58.9 billion in revenue. Profits were down 9% through the first six months of 2021, sitting at $3.5 billion.

Anthem reported $3.8 billion in profit for the first half of 2020.

The insurer boasted 44.3 million members as of June 30, an increase of 1.9 million compared to the prior-year quarter. This includes growth of 2.1 million lives in its government business.

Thanks to the strong second-quarter results, Anthem is jacking up its guidance to greater than $24.89 per share, which accounts for about 61 cents per share in net unfavorable items. The company expects revenues for the year of about $137.1 billion.