Anthem hits more than 12M registered members on its Sydney app

Anthem now has more than 12 million people connected to its in-house health app, Sydney, executives said Wednesday.

That's an increase of 40% year-over-year, said CEO Gail Boudreaux on the company's earnings call. The insurer launched the app in September 2019 and since then it has steadily grown to be a cornerstone of its digital health strategy. Sydney Health allows members to easily access their benefits information as well as connect to personalized recommendations for physicians and wellness options.

The app also allows users to build personalized plans to meet their health goals and can connect to a fitness tracker.

Boudreaux said on the call that the app has played a key role in its most recent strong selling season.

Last quarter, Anthem touted the strongest national selling season in its history, and it added 750,000 new members in Q1 2022 alone. Boudreaux said tools like Sydney that allow large self-funded employers to manage the cost and quality of care more effectively are a key differentiator in its recent growth.

"Employers have come to expect more, notably in the way of enhanced experiences," she said, "and we continue to innovate to meet their needs."

That has included the launch of Sydney Preferred, which allows employer clients greater customization to suit their worker's unique needs. Boudreaux said about 1.2 million people are signed on to Sydney Preferred.

Anthem beat the Street in the first quarter, reporting $1.8 billion in profit.

That's an 8.4% increase over the prior-year quarter, where the company earned $1.67 billion, according to its earnings report released Wednesday morning.

The insurer also surpassed Wall Street's expectations on revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research, with $38.1 billion. It reported $32.4 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2021, making for 17.6% growth year over year.

"Our strong momentum across all our businesses is evidence that our transformation to become a lifetime, trusted health partner continues to drive our growth and accelerate our capabilities focused on whole person health," Boudreaux said in a statement.

"The shared commitment of our more than 98,000 associates to our purpose to improve the health of humanity, is both profound and powerful, and inspires a culture of performance that remains focused on customers and communities we serve," she said.

The company reported 46.8 million members in the first quarter, up 3.3 million year over year on the back of notable growth in Medicaid. Anthem said that growth was aided by the suspension of eligibility recertification requirements in its Medicaid markets.

In addition, the company saw growth through the closure of acquisitions like its buy of MMM in Puerto Rico and the corresponding boost in its membership. Anthem also entered the Medicaid market in North Carolina and saw "organic" growth in Medicare Advantage, according to the report.

Due to the "stronger-than-expected" first quarter results, the insurer raised its full-year guidance to at least $28.40 in earnings per share.

The company's stocks have climbed over the past several months, the Associated Press reported, up 12% since the beginning of this year and up 36% in the last 12 months.