Lynch: Aetna expects to add at least 100K members in ACA exchange plans for 2022

The front entrance of a CVS Pharmacy
CVS Health released its third-quarter earnings report Wednesday morning. (Eric Glenn/Shutterstock.com)

CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch told investors on Wednesday morning that Aetna is expecting to add at least 100,000 new members in 2022 through its slate of plans on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges.

The insurer has returned to the Affordable Care Act's exchanges in eight states for 2022, and the insurer is expecting its plans, which include a co-branded offering with both Aetna and CVS, to have an immediate appeal in the individual market.

Lynch described the new plan on the company's second-quarter earnings call as one "that combines health insurance, pharmacy, our retail presence and behavioral health services."

Aetna fully exited the ACA exchanges in 2018 amid a mass payer exodus following significant losses. Lynch said Aetna would be re-entering the markets for the 2022 plan year during the company's fourth-quarter 2020 earnings call.

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Open enrollment on the ACA exchanges began on Monday.

In addition, Aetna is drawing interest for its newly-unveiled virtual primary care offering, Lynch said. The program, which was announced in August, is backed by Teladoc as well as services provided by CVS Health.

Members will have continuous access to a virtual primary care doctor and can connect to a number of specialists and other physicians based on their needs. They can also access a number of virtual and in-person services with a $0 copayment through CVS' MinuteClinics.

Lynch said that the solution has 30 accounts signed on, reaching 750,000 members for Jan. 1, 2022.

"This is an indication of our ability to scale nationally and bring innovative products to the marketplace," Lynch said.

CVS Health beat Wall Street forecasts on both earnings and revenue for the third quarter of 2021.

The healthcare giant released its third-quarter earnings report Wednesday morning, where it posted $1.6 billion in profit. In addition, it brought in $73.8 billion in revenue for the quarter. For comparison, CVS earned $1.2 billion in profit for the third quarter of 2020 and reported $67 billion in revenue.

Through the first three quarters of this year, CVS has raked in $6.6 billion in profit and $215.5 billion in revenue, according to the report.

“We outperformed expectations once again and continue to lead the way in changing how, when and where care is delivered for millions of Americans,” said CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch in a statement.

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“Our services are responsive to evolving consumer needs, from administering millions of COVID-19 tests and vaccines to offering primary care accessible from virtually anywhere, and our touchpoints allow for unmatched impact," Lynch said.

The company's Aetna business line reported $20.4 billion in revenue for the quarter, an increase of 9.5% year over year driven by growth in its government business, according to the report. Aetna boasted 23.7 million members as of the third quarter.

Revenue was also up significantly at Caremark, according to the report. The pharmacy benefit manager brought in $39 billion in revenue, an increase of 9.3% from the third quarter of 2020. CVS said that growth was backed by an increase in pharmacy claims volume, specialty pharmacy services and brand inflation.

At CVS Pharmacy, revenues were up 10% year over year thanks in large part to COVID-19 vaccinations and testing as well as an increase in pharmacy and store volumes, according to the report. CVS' retail segment posted $25 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2021.

CVS raised its 2021 guidance and now expects to bring in between $7.90 and $8 in earnings per share.