Highmark's revenue tops $20B through three quarters

Highmark Health brought in $20.3 billion in revenue and $431 million in net income for the first three quarters of 2023, the company said this week.

The performance reflects positive performance in its insurance segments, including its core health plan, United Concordia Dental and HM Insurance Group, Highmark said. Its health system, Allegheny Health Network, also saw higher volumes, leading to a revenue boost.

According to the earnings release, AHN saw 7% more inpatient discharges and observations in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Outpatient registrations were up by 5%, and physician visits increased by 4%. There was also a 6% increase in emergency room visits, Highmark said. 

Carl Daley, chief financial officer and treasurer of Highmark Health, said on a call with reporters Wednesday that the trends align with what those noted by industry peers—particularly, that patients are seeking out services that they may have deferred due to COVID-19.

"There's just been a real increase in return of utilization on the healthcare side of patients seeking care that may have been put off during the pandemic," he said."I think that's been broadly seen across other payers as well."

Allegheny Health Network CFO James Rohrbaugh echoed the comments on the call, saying that an example of rebounding utilization is among orthopedic procedures for Medicare Advantage enrollees, elective procedures that were often deferred during the pandemic.

He said the increased utilization is "consistent with what we expected when we planned the year."

"And we do anticipate that that'll continue with us for the rest of the year," Rohrbaugh added.

AHN brought in $3.5 billion in revenue through the first nine months of the year, along with $64 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Highmark said that the higher utilization helped to offset cost pressures from ongoing inflation.

Highmark Health Plans reported a $430 million operating gain through the first three quarters of the year, backed by annual membership growth that helped to offset an increase in claims due to higher utilization, according to the earnings report.