Elevance Health execs express confidence as Medicare enrollment period gets underway

Medicare's annual enrollment period is officially underway, and executives at Elevance Health feel confident about the insurer's position in the market, they said Wednesday.

The AEP began on Saturday, and while it's early days for enrollment, feedback so far has been positive, said Felicia Norwood, president of the company's government division, on Elevance Health's third-quarter earnings call.

"We're certainly very early in the Medicare Advantage annual election period, but we're pleased with what we've seen so far around our marketing positioning," Norwood said.

Chief Financial Officer John Gallina told investors that the insurer has set a goal of growing faster than the industry in this market, and has achieved that so far, so that company expects to continue replicating that success.

Norwood said that the feedback Elevance Health has received so far indicates that its supplemental benefits—particularly its Essential Extras, which allow members to select from a list of additional health and wellness options—are standing out in the market as differentiators. Elevance Health expanded into 210 new counties for the 2023 plan year.

Elevance Health beat the Street in the third quarter with $1.6 billion in profit.

The company released its quarterly earnings report Wednesday morning. Profits were up 7.2% from the prior-year quarter, where Elevance Health posted $1.5 billion. The insurer, formerly Anthem, also surpassed Wall Street's expectations on revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research, with $39.9 billion.

Revenues were up 11.5% from the third quarter of 2021, when the company reported $35.8 billion in revenue.

In the earnings release, CEO Gail Boudreaux touted employees' hard work and their response to recent hurricanes that slammed Florida and Puerto Rico.

"Broad based momentum across Elevance Health continued in the third quarter, driven by the focused execution of our strategy and the dedication of our over 100,000 associates,” she said.

“We are united in our purpose to improve the health of humanity, and I am proud of the work our associates are doing to support their colleagues and communities so tragically impacted by the recent hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. It’s in times such as these that our culture shines through," Boudreaux said.

Through the first three quarters, Elevance Health reported $116.7 billion in revenue, an increase of 14.3% from 2021 when the company reported $102.1 billion. Profits in the first nine months of 2022 were $5.1 billion, an increase of 2.2% from the $5 billion posted through the first nine months of 2021.

In the third quarter, the insurer's total medical membership across its affiliated plans reached 47.3 million, up 4.9% year over year.

Thanks to its performance in the quarter, Elevance Health boosted its guidance for the year and now expects at least $28.95 in earnings per share.