Reform critic WellPoint to reap its benefits

WellPoint, initially one of the loudest critics of the Affordable Care Act, now stands to benefit significantly from the law--it's the largest participant of all exchanges and already boosted membership by increasing its Medicaid participation.

Under the leadership of its new chief executive, the second largest insurer in the nation revamped its relationships with providers and increased its presence in the Medicaid market.

"We're not old Blue," WellPoint CEO Joseph Swedish told The New York Times. "If we position ourselves simply as an insurance company, we are going to fail ... We've got the most to win."

So far, WellPoint has found success--with about 500,000 exchange plan enrollees and the leading market share in at least 6 states, including California, Connecticut, New York and Virginia. Last week, while reporting WellPoint's fourth-quarter earnings, Swedish said its enrollment numbers were "very consistent with our expectations."

And WellPoint's purchase of Medicaid managed care company Amerigroup a year ago increased its Medicaid business, which now accounts for 45 percent of its overall revenue, up from 10 percent only a few years ago. "We've made a big bet on the partnership with government," Swedish told the NYT.

Swedish, along with Cigna CEO David Cordani have taken a calm view of reform, describing it as a cross between a solvable problem and a significant business opportunity, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article