SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE|
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE |
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number: 001-16751
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of |
incorporation or organization)
| ||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
220 Virginia Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (800) 331-1476
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, Par Value $0.01||ANTM||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: NONE
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☒||Accelerated filer||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No x
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant (assuming solely for the purposes of this calculation that all directors and executive officers of the registrant are “affiliates”) as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $66,230,779,383.
As of February 4, 2021, 244,905,689 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K incorporates by reference information from the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held May 26, 2021.
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
Table of Contents
References in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the terms “we,” “our,” “us,” “Anthem” or the “Company” refer to Anthem, Inc., an Indiana corporation, and, unless the context otherwise requires, its direct and indirect subsidiaries. References to the term “states” include the District of Columbia, unless the context otherwise requires.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements reflect our views about future events and financial performance and are generally not historical facts. Words such as “expect,” “feel,” “believe,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “plan” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to: financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions; statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future operations, products and services; and statements regarding future performance. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond our control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking statements. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof. You are also urged to carefully review and consider the various risks and other disclosures discussed in our reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time, which attempt to advise interested parties of the factors that affect our business. Except to the extent otherwise required by federal securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to republish revised forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the impact of large scale medical emergencies, such as public health epidemics and pandemics, including COVID-19, and catastrophes; trends in healthcare costs and utilization rates; our ability to secure sufficient premium rates, including regulatory approval for and implementation of such rates; the impact of federal and state regulation, including ongoing changes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, as amended (collectively, the “ACA”), and the ultimate outcome of legal challenges to the ACA; changes in economic and market conditions, as well as regulations that may negatively affect our liquidity and investment portfolios; our ability to contract with providers on cost-effective and competitive terms; competitive pressures and our ability to adapt to changes in the industry and develop and implement strategic growth opportunities; reduced enrollment; unauthorized disclosure of member or employee sensitive or confidential information, including the impact and outcome of any investigations, inquiries, claims and litigation related thereto; risks and uncertainties regarding Medicare and Medicaid programs, including those related to non-compliance with the complex regulations imposed thereon; our ability to maintain and achieve improvement in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Star ratings and other quality scores and funding risks with respect to revenue received from participation therein; a negative change in our healthcare product mix; costs and other liabilities associated with litigation, government investigations, audits or reviews; the ultimate outcome of litigation between Cigna Corporation, and us related to the merger agreement between the parties and the potential for such litigation to cause us to incur substantial additional costs, including potential settlement and judgment costs; risks and uncertainties related to our pharmacy benefit management (“PBM”) business, including non-compliance by any party with the PBM services agreement between us and CaremarkPCS Health, L.L.C.; medical malpractice or professional liability claims or other risks related to healthcare and PBM services provided by our subsidiaries; general risks associated with mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances; possible impairment of the value of our intangible assets if future results do not adequately support goodwill and other intangible assets; possible restrictions in the payment of dividends from our subsidiaries and increases in required minimum levels of capital; our ability to repurchase shares of our common stock and pay dividends on our common stock due to the adequacy of our cash flow and earnings and other considerations; the potential negative effect from our substantial amount of outstanding indebtedness; a downgrade in our financial strength ratings; the effects of any negative publicity related to the health benefits industry in general or us in particular; failure to effectively maintain and modernize our information systems; events that may negatively affect our licenses with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; the impact of international laws and regulations; changes in U.S. tax laws; intense competition to attract and retain employees; and various laws and provisions in our governing documents that may prevent or discourage takeovers and business combinations.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS.
We are one of the largest health benefits companies in the United States in terms of medical membership, serving approximately 43 million medical members through our affiliated health plans as of December 31, 2020. We deliver a number of leading health benefit solutions through a broad portfolio of integrated health plans and related services, along with a wide range of specialty products as well as flexible spending accounts. In the second quarter of 2019, we began using our pharmacy benefits manager called IngenioRx to market and offer pharmacy benefits management (“PBM”) services to our affiliated health plan customers throughout the country, as well as to customers outside of the health plans we own. In addition, we are expanding our business into integrated health services through our Diversified Business Group, which includes certain of our subsidiaries such as AIM Specialty Health, Aspire Health, and Beacon Health Options, Inc. (“Beacon”) and other companies. At the time of its acquisition in 2020, Beacon was the largest independently held behavioral health organization in the country. Our acquisition of Beacon aligns with our strategy to diversify into health services and deliver both integrated solutions and care delivery models that personalize care for people with complex and chronic conditions.
We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (“BCBSA”), an association of independent health benefit plans. We serve our members as the Blue Cross licensee for California and as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (“BCBS”) licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (in the New York City metropolitan area and upstate New York), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.) and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, we do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross. We also conduct business through arrangements with other BCBS licensees as well as other strategic partners. Through our subsidiaries, we also serve customers in numerous states across the country as AIM Specialty Health, Amerigroup, Aspire Health, Beacon, CareMore, Freedom Health, HealthLink, HealthSun, Optimum HealthCare, Simply Healthcare, and/or UniCare. We are licensed to conduct insurance operations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through our subsidiaries.
For our insurance products, based on the level of risk we assume in the product contract, we categorize principal funding arrangements as fully-insured and self-funded. Fully-insured products are products in which we indemnify our policyholders against costs for health benefits. Self-funded products are offered to customers, generally larger employers, who elect to retain most or all of the financial risk associated with their employees’ healthcare costs. Some self-funded customers choose to purchase stop loss coverage to limit their retained risk. For our fully-insured products, we charge a premium and assume the risk for the cost of covered healthcare services. Under self-funded products, we charge a fee for services and the employer or plan sponsor funds or reimburses us for the healthcare costs. In addition, we charge a premium to underwrite stop loss insurance for employers that maintain self-funded health plans. We also generate revenues from providing PBM services including prescription drug fulfillment.
We offer a broad spectrum of network-based managed care plans to Large Group, Small Group, Individual, Medicaid and Medicare markets. Our managed care plans include: Preferred Provider Organizations (“PPOs”); Health Maintenance Organizations (“HMOs”); Point-of-Service (“POS”) plans; traditional indemnity plans and other hybrid plans, including Consumer-Driven Health Plans (“CDHPs”); and hospital only and limited benefit products. In addition, we provide a broad array of managed care services to self-funded customers, including claims processing, stop loss insurance, actuarial services, provider network access, medical cost management, disease management, wellness programs and other administrative services. We provide an array of specialty and other insurance products and services such as PBM services, dental, vision, life and disability insurance benefits, radiology benefit management and analytics-driven personal healthcare. We also provide services to the federal government in connection with our Federal Health Products & Services business (“FHPS”) which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits (“FEHB”) Program.
An ongoing focus on healthcare costs by employers, the government and consumers has continued to drive the growth of alternatives to traditional indemnity health insurance. HMO, PPO and hybrid plans are among the various forms of managed care products that have been developed. Through these types of products, insurers attempt to contain the cost of healthcare by
negotiating contracts with hospitals, physicians and other providers to deliver high-quality healthcare to members at favorable rates. These products usually feature medical management and other quality and cost optimization measures such as pre-admission review and approval for certain non-emergency services, pre-authorization of outpatient surgical procedures, network credentialing to determine that network physicians and hospitals have the required certifications and expertise, and various levels of care management programs to help members better understand and navigate the healthcare system. In addition, providers may have incentives to achieve certain quality measures, may share medical cost risk or may have other incentives to deliver quality medical services in a cost-effective manner. Also, certain plans offer members incentives for healthy behaviors, such as smoking cessation and weight management. Members are charged periodic, prepaid premiums and generally pay co-payments, coinsurance and/or deductibles when they receive services. While the distinctions between the various types of plans have lessened over recent years, PPO, POS and CDHP products generally provide reduced benefits for out-of-network services, while traditional HMO products generally provide little to no reimbursement for non-emergency out-of-network utilization, but often offer more generous benefit coverage. An HMO plan may also require members to select one of the network primary care physicians (“PCPs”) to coordinate their care and approve any specialist or other services.
Economic factors, greater consumer and employer sophistication and accountability have resulted in an increased demand for choice in both product/benefit designs and provider network configurations. As a result, we continue to offer our broad access PPO networks with multiple benefit designs, but are also focused on leveraging our provider collaboration initiatives with our accountable care organization (“ACO”) partnerships to develop both narrow and tiered network offerings. This array of network and product configurations allows both the employer and the employee to design and select the combination of benefit designs (e.g., traditional PPOs, high deductibles, health reimbursement accounts, health savings accounts, PCP based products, tiered copays) and networks (e.g., broad, narrow, tiered, closed or exclusive provider, and open) that optimize choice, quality and price at the consumer, employer and market level. We believe we are well-positioned in each of our states to respond to these market preferences.
Our medical membership includes seven different customer types: Local Group, Individual, National Accounts, BlueCard®, Medicare, Medicaid and FEHB. In addition, we also serve customers who purchase one or more of our other products or services that are often ancillary to our health business.
Our products are generally developed and marketed with an emphasis on the differing needs of our customers. In particular, our product development and marketing efforts take into account the differing characteristics between the various customers served by us, as well as the unique needs of educational and public entities, labor groups, FEHB program, national employers and state-run programs servicing low-income, high-risk and underserved markets. Overall, we seek to establish pricing and product designs to provide value for our customers while achieving an appropriate level of profitability for each of our customer categories balanced with the competitive objective to grow market share. We believe that one of the keys to our success has been our focus on these distinct customer types, which better enables us to develop benefit plans and services that meet our customers’ unique needs. Further, IngenioRx was built to simplify pharmacy care and focus on the whole person, and we expect it will make it easier for our customers to achieve better health outcomes at a lower total cost of care.
We market our Individual, Medicare and certain Local Group products through direct marketing activities and an extensive network of independent agents, brokers and retail partnerships. Products for National Accounts and Local Group customers with a larger employee base are generally sold through independent brokers or consultants retained by the customer who work with industry specialists from our in-house sales force. In the Individual and Small Group markets, we offer on-exchange products through state- or federally-facilitated marketplaces, referred to as public exchanges, and off-exchange products. Federal subsidies are available for certain members, subject to income and family size, who purchase public exchange products.
Being a licensee of the BCBS association of companies, of which there were 36 independent primary licensees including us as of December 31, 2020, provides significant market value, especially when competing for very large multi-state employer groups. For example, each BCBS member company is able to utilize other BCBS licensees’ substantial provider networks and discounts when any BCBS member works or travels outside of the state in which their policy is written. This program is referred to as BlueCard® and is a source of revenue when we provide member services in the states where we are the BCBS licensee to individuals who are customers of BCBS plans not affiliated with us. This program also provides a national provider network for our members when they travel to other states. See “BCBSA Licenses” herein for additional information on our BCBSA licenses. We refer to members in our service areas licensed by the BCBSA as our BCBS-branded
business. Non-BCBS-branded business refers to members in our non-BCBS-branded Amerigroup, Freedom Health, HealthSun, Optimum Health Care and Simply Healthcare plans, as well as Beacon, HealthLink and UniCare members.
For additional information describing each of our customer types, detailed marketing efforts and changes in medical membership over the last three years, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our results of operations depend in large part on our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage healthcare costs through effective contracting with providers of care to our members, product pricing, medical management and health and wellness programs, including service coordination and case management for addressing complex and specialized healthcare needs, innovative product design and our ability to maintain or achieve improvement in our Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Star ratings. CMS Star ratings affect Medicare Advantage plan reimbursements as well as our eligibility to earn quality-based bonus payments for those plans. See “Regulation” herein for additional information on our CMS Star ratings. For additional information on our networks and provider relations, product pricing and healthcare cost management programs, see “Networks and Provider Relations”, “Pricing and Underwriting of Our Products”, “Medical Management Programs”, “Care Management Programs” and “Healthcare Quality Initiatives” herein.
Advances in medical technology, increases in specialty drug costs, increases in hospital expenditures and other provider costs, the aging of the population, other demographic characteristics and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to contribute to rising healthcare costs. Our managed care plans and products are designed to encourage providers and members to participate in quality, cost-effective health benefit programs by using the full range of our innovative medical management services, quality initiatives and financial incentives. Our market share and high business retention rates enable us to realize the long-term benefits of investing in preventive and early detection programs. Our ability to provide cost-effective health benefits products and services is enhanced through a disciplined approach to internal cost containment, prudent management of our risk exposure and successful integration of acquired businesses. In addition, our ability to manage selling, general and administrative costs continues to be a driver of our overall profitability.
The future results of our operations will also be impacted by certain external forces and resulting changes in our business model and strategy. The continuing growth in our government-sponsored business exposes us to increased regulatory oversight. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, as amended (collectively, the “ACA”), has changed and may continue to make broad-based changes to the U.S. healthcare system. The ACA presented us with new growth opportunities, but also introduced new risks, regulatory challenges and uncertainties, and required changes in the way products are designed, underwritten, priced, distributed and administered. We currently offer Individual ACA-compliant products in 103 of the 143 rating regions in which we operate. Our strategy has been, and will continue to be, to only participate in rating regions where we have an appropriate level of confidence that these markets are on a path toward sustainability, including, but not limited to, factors such as expected financial performance, regulatory environment, and underlying market characteristics. Changes to our business environment are likely to continue as elected officials at the national and state levels continue to enact, and both elected officials and candidates for election continue to propose, significant modifications to existing laws and regulations, including changes to taxes and fees. In addition, the legal challenges regarding the ACA, including a federal district court decision invalidating the ACA, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2020 and has been stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, continue to contribute to this uncertainty. We will continue to evaluate the impact of the ACA as additional guidance is made available and any further developments or judicial rulings occur. For additional discussion, see “Regulation” herein and Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In addition to the external forces discussed in the preceding paragraph, our results of operations are impacted by levels and mix of membership which can change as a result of the quality and pricing of our health benefits products and services, aging population, economic conditions, changes in unemployment, acquisitions, entry into new markets and expansions in or exits from existing markets. These membership trends could be negatively impacted by various factors that could have a material adverse effect on our future results of operations such as general economic downturns that result in business failures, failure to obtain new customers or retain existing customers, premium increases, benefit changes or our exit from a specific market. See Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” and Part II, Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We believe healthcare is local and that we have the strong local presence required to understand and meet local customer needs with regard to any product they are enrolled in with us. Further, we believe we are well-positioned to deliver what customers want: innovative, choice-based and affordable products; distinctive service; simplified transactions; and better access to information for quality care. Our local presence, combined with our national expertise, has created opportunities for collaborative programs that reward physicians and hospitals for clinical quality and excellence. We feel that our commitment to health improvement and care management provides added value to customers and healthcare professionals. Ultimately, we believe that practical and sustainable improvements in healthcare must focus on improving healthcare quality while managing costs for total affordability. We have implemented initiatives driving payment innovation and partnering with providers to lower cost and improve the quality of healthcare for our members, and we continue to develop new and innovative ways to effectively manage risk and engage our members. Further, we are expanding our financial arrangements with providers to include payment models that encourage value-based care. We believe focusing on quality of care rather than volume of care is the foundation for improving patient outcomes. Our value-based payment model supports patient-centered care by improving collaboration between providers and health partners and delivering to our patients the right care, at the right time, in the right place. In addition, we are focused on achieving efficiencies from our national scale while optimizing service performance for our customers. Finally, we expect to continue to rationalize our portfolio of businesses and products and align our investments to capitalize on new opportunities to drive growth in our existing markets and expand into new markets in the future.
We continue to enhance interactions with customers, providers, brokers, agents, employees and other stakeholders through digital technology and improving internal operations. Our approach includes not only the sales and distribution of health benefits products through digital technology, but also implementing advanced capabilities that improve services benefiting customers, agents, brokers, and providers while optimizing administrative costs. These enhancements can also help improve the quality, coordination and safety of healthcare through increased communications between patients and their physicians.
At Anthem, we strive to improve the health of humanity. We believe in working together to achieve our mission of improving lives and communities, simplifying healthcare and expecting more. As we seek to accomplish these goals through a collaborative focus on execution and delivering for those we serve, our vision is to be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive health partner. We focus on ensuring quality products and services that give members access to the care they need. With an unyielding commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse customers, we are guided by the following values:
•Leadership – Redefine what is possible
•Community – Committed, connected, invested
•Integrity – Do the right thing, with a spirit of excellence
•Agility – Delivery today, transform tomorrow
•Diversity – Open your hearts and minds
In pursuing our vision, we intend to transform healthcare by providing trusted and caring solutions and delivering quality products and services that give customers access to the care they need. At the same time, we will focus on earnings, organic membership growth, improvements in our operating cost structure, strategic acquisitions and the efficient use of capital.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) a global health pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and the virus and mitigation efforts have continued to impact the global economy, cause market instability, increase unemployment in the United States, and put pressure on the healthcare system, and it has impacted and will continue to impact our membership and benefit expense. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we remain focused on increasing access and coverage for our members, making changes to our membership benefits and business operations and adapting tools and policies to assist consumers and care providers, including:
•Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and treatment;
•Providing expanded telehealth coverage for our Medicare and Medicaid plans, where permissible, and waiving cost-sharing for in-network telehealth visits, including telephonic visits and those for mental health;
•Providing expanded telehealth coverage for our members in fully-insured employer plans and Individual plans (we also waived cost-sharing for in-network telehealth and phone visits through September 30, 2020);
•Encouraging the use of home delivery services to enable access to necessary medications and relaxing early prescription refill policies for maintenance and specialty medications for our members in fully-insured employer plans and Individual plans at least through September 30, 2020, and for Medicare and Medicaid plans in accordance with applicable regulations;
•Providing a one-month premium credit to members enrolled in select individual plans and to fully insured employer group customers ranging from 10 to 15 percent of the monthly premium;
•Providing a one-month premium credit of 50 percent of the monthly premium to individuals in stand-alone and group dental plans;
•Leveraging data and advanced analytics to provide innovative solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and introducing a suite of digital tools that serve various functions, including providing member data and updates related to COVID-19, aggregating real-time COVID-19 data to present trends and predictions for our communities, and providing individuals with resources for mental health and free or reduced-cost programs that provide food, transportation, childcare and more;
•Providing support to care provider partners of our affiliated health plans to help them continue to focus on caring for patients, including funding and financial assistance, working with care providers to accelerate claims processing for outstanding accounts receivables, resolve claims where possible and appropriate, and accelerate payments to support state-specific Medicaid programs;
•Simplifying access to care by temporarily suspending select prior authorization requirements for certain services and equipment critical to COVID-19 treatment;
•Offering in-network dental providers a $10 personal protective equipment credit per patient, per visit, through December 31, 2020;
•Transitioning the majority of our employees to a remote work environment, expanding our employee benefits to provide additional support, imposing travel limitations and implementing workplace modifications consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and social distancing protocols;
•Committing to lifting up our local communities through a variety of partnership and relief efforts, contributing $50 million to the Anthem Foundation to support its COVID-19 response and recovery efforts to help areas of greatest need, including care provider safety, food insecurity, and mental and behavioral health resources; and
•Sponsoring and participating in collaborative efforts to promote innovative solutions related to COVID-19 and healthcare needs caused by the pandemic.
For additional discussion see Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations–COVID-19” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For information regarding our risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic and our other risk factors, see Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The managed care industry is highly competitive, both nationally and in our local markets. Competition continues to be intense due to aggressive marketing, pricing, government-sponsored programs bid activity, business consolidations, new strategic alliances, new competitors in the market, a proliferation of new products, technological advancements, the impact of legislative reform, increased quality awareness and price sensitivity among customers and changing market practice such as increased usage of telehealth.
We believe that participants in the managed care industry compete for customers based on quality of service, price, access to provider networks, access to care management and wellness programs (including health information), innovation, effective use of technology such as electronic data transfer, breadth and flexibility of products and benefits, expertise and reputation (including National Committee on Quality Assurance (“NCQA”) accreditation status as well as CMS Star ratings), brand recognition and financial stability. Our ability to attract and retain customers is substantially tied to our ability to distinguish ourselves from our competitors in these areas.
We believe our exclusive right to market products under the most recognized brand in the industry, BCBS, in our most significant markets provides us with greater brand recognition over competitive product offerings. Typically, we are the largest participant in each of our BCBS branded markets and, thus, are a closely-watched target by other insurance competitors.
Product pricing remains competitive and we strive to price our healthcare benefit products and design our Medicare and Medicaid bids consistent with anticipated underlying medical trends. We believe our pricing and bid strategy, based on predictive modeling, proprietary research and data-driven processes, has positioned us to benefit from the potential growth opportunities available through entry into new markets, expansions in existing markets and as a result of any future changes to the current regulatory scheme. We believe that our pricing and bid strategy, brand name and network quality will provide a strong foundation for membership growth opportunities in the future.
Our provider networks give us a highly competitive unit cost position and provide distinctive service levels which allow us to offer a broad range of affordable health benefit products to our customers. To build our provider networks, we compete with other health benefits plans for the best contracts with hospitals, physicians and other providers. We believe that physicians and other providers primarily consider customer volume, reimbursement rates, timeliness of reimbursement and administrative service capabilities along with the reduction of non-value added administrative tasks when deciding whether to contract with a health benefits plan.
At the sales and distribution level, we compete for qualified agents and brokers to recommend and distribute our products. Strong competition exists among insurance companies and health benefits plans for agents and brokers with demonstrated ability to secure new business and maintain existing accounts. We believe that the quality and price of our products, support services, reputation and prior relationships, along with a reasonable commission structure, are the factors agents and brokers consider in choosing whether to market our products. We believe that we have good relationships with our agents and brokers, and that our products, support services and commission structure compare favorably to those of our competitors in all of our markets.
In addition, the PBM industry is highly competitive, and IngenioRx is subject to competition from national, regional and local PBMs, insurers, health plans, large retail pharmacy chains, large retail stores, supermarkets, other mail order pharmacies, web pharmacies and specialty pharmacies. Strong competition within the PBM industry has generated greater demand for lower product and service pricing, increased revenue sharing and enhanced product and service offerings.
We manage our operations through four reportable segments: Commercial & Specialty Business, Government Business, IngenioRx and Other. We regularly evaluate the appropriateness of our reportable segments, particularly in light of organizational changes, merger and acquisition activity and changing laws and regulations.
Our Commercial & Specialty Business and Government Business segments both offer a diversified mix of managed care products, including PPOs, HMOs, traditional indemnity benefits and POS plans, as well as a variety of hybrid benefit plans including CDHPs, hospital only and limited benefit products.
Our Commercial & Specialty Business segment includes our Local Group, National Accounts, Individual and Specialty businesses. Business units in the Commercial & Specialty Business segment offer fully-insured health products; provide a broad array of managed care services to self-funded customers including claims processing, stop loss insurance, provider network access, medical cost management, disease management, wellness programs, underwriting, actuarial services and other administrative services; and provide an array of specialty and other insurance products and services such as dental, vision, life and disability insurance benefits.
Our Government Business segment includes our Medicare and Medicaid businesses, National Government Services (“NGS”) and services provided to the federal government in connection with our FHPS business. Medicaid makes federal matching funds available to all states for the delivery of healthcare benefits to eligible individuals, principally those with incomes below specified levels who meet other state-specified requirements. Medicaid is structured to allow each state to establish its own eligibility standards, benefits package, payment rates and program administration under broad federal guidelines. Our Medicare customers are Medicare-eligible individual members age 65 and over who have enrolled in Medicare Advantage, a managed care alternative for the Medicare program, or who have purchased Medicare Supplement benefit coverage, some disabled members under age 65, or members of all ages with end stage renal disease. Medicare Supplement policies are sold to Medicare recipients as supplements to the benefits they receive from the Medicare program. Medicare Supplement policy rates are filed with, and in some cases approved by, state insurance departments. Most of the premium for Medicare Advantage is based on bids submitted to CMS and paid directly by the federal government on behalf of the participant who may also be charged a small premium. Additionally, through our alliance partnership engagements with larger provider groups and BCBS plans, we offer a variety of Medicaid and Medicare services that include joint ventures, administrative service offerings, and full-risk arrangements. NGS acts as a Medicare contractor for the federal government in several regions across the nation.
Our IngenioRx segment includes our PBM business, which began its operations during the second quarter of 2019. IngenioRx markets and offers PBM services to our affiliated health plan customers, as well as to external customers outside of the health plans we own. IngenioRx has a comprehensive PBM services portfolio, which includes services such as formulary management, pharmacy networks, prescription drug database, member services and mail order capabilities. In 2019, IngenioRx was included in our Other reportable segment.
Our Other segment includes our Diversified Business Group (“DBG”), which is our integrated health services business, and certain eliminations and corporate expenses not allocated to our other reportable segments.
For additional information, see Note 20, “Segment Information”, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We experience seasonality in our Commercial & Specialty Business and Government Business segments. While our premium revenues are not seasonal, our benefit costs typically increase during the year as our fully-insured members pay their annual deductibles and reach their out-of-pocket maximum limits. However, this seasonality may change in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and COVID-19 vaccines become widely available. Our expenses associated with COVID-19, including testing and treatment and the actions taken to support our members in response to the pandemic, accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2020 and exceeded the benefit we experienced during the quarter from the lower volume of healthcare claims attributable to decreased utilization of non-COVID-19 health services.
Through our participation in various federal government programs, we generated approximately 20.3%, 20.7% and 19.8% of our total consolidated revenues from agencies of the U.S. government for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. These revenues are contained in the Government Business segment. An immaterial amount of our total consolidated revenues is derived from activities outside of the U.S.
Product and Service Descriptions
A general description of our products and services is provided below:
Preferred Provider Organization: PPO products offer the member an option to select any healthcare provider, with benefits reimbursed by us at a higher level when care is received from a participating network provider. Increasingly, customers are choosing our PPO products offered with an exclusive provider organization, which eliminates coverage out of
network. Coverage is subject to co-payments or deductibles and coinsurance, with member cost sharing usually limited by out-of-pocket maximums.
Consumer-Driven Health Plans: CDHPs provide consumers with increased financial responsibility, choice and control regarding how their healthcare dollars are spent. Generally, CDHPs combine a high-deductible PPO plan with an employer-funded and/or employee-funded personal care account, which may result in tax benefits to the employee. Some or all of the dollars remaining in the personal care account at year-end can be rolled over to the next year for future healthcare needs.
Traditional Indemnity: Indemnity products offer the member an option to select any healthcare provider for covered services. Coverage is subject to deductibles and coinsurance, with member cost sharing usually limited by out-of-pocket maximums.
Health Maintenance Organization: HMO products include comprehensive managed care benefits, generally through a participating network of physicians, hospitals and other providers. A member in one of our HMOs must typically select a PCP from our network. PCPs generally are family practitioners, internists or pediatricians who provide necessary preventive and primary medical care, and are generally responsible for coordinating other necessary healthcare services. We offer HMO plans with varying levels of co-payments, which result in different levels of premium rates.
Point-of-Service: POS products blend the characteristics of HMO, PPO and indemnity plans. Members can have comprehensive HMO-style benefits through participating network providers with minimum out-of-pocket expenses (co-payments) and also can go directly, without a referral, to any provider they choose, subject to, among other things, certain deductibles and coinsurance. Member cost sharing is limited by out-of-pocket maximums.
Public Exchange and Off-Exchange Products: Individual and Small Group products cover essential health benefits as defined in the ACA along with many other requirements and cost-sharing features. Individual and Small Group products offered on and off the public exchanges meet the definition of the “metal” product requirements (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and each metal product must satisfy a specific actuarial value with respect to essential benefits. Health insurers participating on the public exchanges must offer at least one silver and one gold product.
Administrative Services: In addition to fully-insured products, we provide administrative services to Large Group, Small Group and National Account employers that maintain self-funded health plans. These administrative services include claims processing, medical cost management, disease management, wellness programs, underwriting, actuarial services and other administrative services for self-funded employers. Self-funded health plans are also able to use our provider networks and to realize savings through our negotiated provider arrangements, while allowing employers the ability to design certain health benefit plans in accordance with their own requirements and objectives. We also underwrite stop loss insurance for self-funded plans.
BlueCard®: BlueCard® is a national program that links participating healthcare providers and independent BCBS plans. BlueCard® host members are generally members who reside in or travel to a state in which an Anthem subsidiary is the Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield licensee and who are covered under an employer-sponsored health plan serviced by a non-Anthem controlled BCBS licensee, which is the “home” plan. We perform certain administrative functions for BlueCard® host members, including claims pricing and administration for which we receive administrative fees from the BlueCard® members’ home plans. Other administrative functions, including maintenance of enrollment information and customer service, are performed by the home plan.
Medicare Plans: We offer a wide variety of plans, products and options to individuals age 65 and older such as Medicare Supplement plans; Medicare Advantage, including Special Needs Plans (“SNPs”), also known as Medicare Advantage SNPs; Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (“Medicare Part D”); and dual-eligible programs through Medicare-Medicaid Plans (“MMPs”). Medicare Supplement plans typically pay the difference between healthcare costs incurred by a beneficiary and amounts paid by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans provide Medicare beneficiaries with a managed care alternative to traditional Medicare and often include a Medicare Part D benefit. In addition, our Medicare Advantage SNPs provide tailored benefits to special needs individuals who are institutionalized or have severe or disabling chronic conditions and to dual-eligible customers, who are low-income seniors and persons under age 65 with disabilities. Medicare Advantage SNPs are coordinated care plans specifically designed to provide targeted care, covering all the healthcare services considered medically necessary for members and often providing professional care coordination services, with personal guidance and programs that help members maintain their health. Medicare Advantage membership also
includes Medicare Advantage members in our Group Retiree Solutions business who are related to National Accounts, retired members of Local Group accounts, or retired members of groups who are not affiliated with our Commercial accounts who have selected a Medicare Advantage product through us. Medicare Part D offers a prescription drug plan to Medicare and MMP beneficiaries. MMP is a demonstration program focused on serving members who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, which was established as a result of the passage of the ACA.
Individual Plans: We offer a full range of health insurance plans with a variety of options and deductibles for individuals who are not covered by employer-sponsored coverage and are not eligible for government sponsored plans, such as Medicare and/or Medicaid. Individual policies are generally sold through independent agents and brokers, retail partnerships, our in-house sales force or via the exchanges. Individual business is sold on a fully-insured basis. We offer on-exchange products through public exchanges and off-exchange products. Federal premium subsidies are available only for certain public exchange Individual products. Unsubsidized Individual customers are generally more sensitive to product pricing and, to a lesser extent, the configuration of the network and the efficiency of administration. Instability in the Individual market has resulted in a targeted approach where we offer products in select geographies.
Medicaid Plans and Other State-Sponsored Programs: We have state contracts to serve members enrolled in publicly funded healthcare programs, including Medicaid; ACA-related Medicaid expansion programs; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”); programs for seniors and people with disabilities (“SPD”); Children’s Health Insurance Programs (“CHIP”); and specialty programs such as those focused on long-term services and support (“LTSS”), HIV/AIDS, children living in foster care, behavioral health and/or substance abuse disorders, and intellectual disabilities and/or developmental disabilities (“ID/DD programs”). The Medicaid program makes federal matching funds available to all states for the delivery of healthcare benefits for low income and/or high medical risk individuals. These programs are managed by the individual states based on broad federal guidelines. TANF is a state and federally funded program designed for a population consisting primarily of low-income children and their guardians. SPD is a federal income supplement program designed for Supplemental Security Income recipients; however, states can broaden eligibility criteria. This population generally consists of low-income seniors and people with disabilities. CHIP is a state and federally funded program that provides healthcare coverage to children not otherwise covered by Medicaid or other insurance programs. LTSS is a state and federally funded program that offers states a broad and flexible set of program design options and covers the delivery of long-term services and support for our members who receive home and community- or institution-based services for long-term care. Our HIV/AIDS program is a state and federally sponsored program that provides services to those living with HIV/AIDS. Our foster care program is a state and federally sponsored program serving children with complex needs within the foster care system. Our behavioral health program is a state and federally sponsored program providing services to those with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. ID/DD is a state and federally sponsored program serving those living with limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior learning disabilities. Our Medicaid plans also cover certain dual-eligible customers, as previously described above, who also receive Medicare benefits. We provide Medicaid and other state sponsored services, such as administrative services, in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Pharmacy Products: In the second quarter of 2019, we began using IngenioRx to market and offer PBM services to our affiliated health plan customers throughout the country, as well as to customers outside of the health plans we own. Our comprehensive PBM services portfolio includes features such as formulary management, pharmacy networks, a prescription drug database, member services, and mail order capabilities. IngenioRx delegates certain PBM administrative functions, such as claims processing and prescription fulfillment, to CaremarkPCS Health, L.L.C., which is a subsidiary of CVS Health Corporation (“CVS Health”), pursuant to a five-year agreement (the “CVS PBM Agreement”). With IngenioRx, we retain the responsibilities for clinical and formulary strategy and development, member and employer experiences, operations, sales, marketing, account management and retail network strategy. From December 2009 through December 2019, we delegated certain PBM functions and administrative services to Express Scripts Inc. (“Express Scripts”). Express Scripts managed the network of pharmacy providers, operated mail order pharmacies and processed prescription drug claims on our behalf, while we sold and supported the product for our members, made formulary decisions, sold drug benefit design strategy and provided front line member support. We began transitioning existing members from Express Scripts to IngenioRx in the second quarter of 2019, and completed the transition by January 1, 2020.
Behavioral Health: We offer managed care and member services for behavioral health and/or substance use disorders under contracts with state publicly funded healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, and through private health
plans and ACOs. In addition, we provide management and member benefit services for employee assistance plans to private employers and the federal government’s Military OneSource support services. Through our subsidiary, Beacon, we also provide direct behavioral health counseling services through licensed clinicians in convenient and accessible locations, principally within a retail store environment.
Life Insurance: We offer an array of competitive individual and group life insurance benefit products to both Large Group and Small Group customers in conjunction with our health plans. The life insurance products include term life and accidental death and dismemberment.
Disability: We offer short-term and long-term disability products, usually in conjunction with our health plans.
Dental: Our dental plans include networks in certain states in which we operate. Many of the dental benefits are provided to customers enrolled in our health plans and are offered on both a fully-insured and self-funded basis. Our members also have access to additional dental providers through our participation in the National Dental GRID, a national dental network developed by and for BCBS plans. The National Dental GRID includes dentists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and provides multi-state customers with a national solution that offers in-network discounts across the country. Additionally, we offer managed dental services to other healthcare plans to assist those plans in providing dental benefits to their customers.
Vision Services and Products: Our vision plans include networks within the states in which we operate. Many of the vision benefits are provided to customers enrolled in our health plans and are offered on both a fully-insured and self-funded basis.
Medicare Administrative Operations: Through our subsidiary, NGS, we serve as a fiscal intermediary, carrier and Medicare administrative contractor for the federal government by providing administrative services for the Medicare program, Parts A and B, which generally provides coverage for persons who are 65 or older and for persons who are under 65 and disabled or with end-stage renal disease. Part A of the Medicare program provides coverage for services provided by hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and other healthcare facilities. Part B of the Medicare program provides coverage for services provided by physicians, physical and occupational therapists and other professional providers, as well as certain durable medical equipment and medical supplies.
Radiology Benefit Management: We offer outpatient diagnostic imaging management services to health plans, which promote the most appropriate use of clinical services to improve the quality of care delivered to members. These services include utilization management for advanced diagnostic imaging procedures, network development and optimization, patient safety, claims adjudication and provider payment.
Personal Healthcare Guidance: We offer evidence-based and analytics-driven personal healthcare guidance. These services help improve the quality, coordination and safety of healthcare, enhance communications between patients and their physicians, and reduce medical costs.
Networks and Provider Relations
Our relationships with physicians, hospitals and professionals that render healthcare services to our members are guided by local, regional and national standards for network development, reimbursement and contract methodologies. While following industry standards, we are simultaneously seeking to lead transformation efforts within our healthcare system, moving from a fragmented model premised on episodic intervention to one based on proactive, coordinated care built around the needs of the patient. A key element of this transformation involves a transition from traditional fee-for-service payment models to models where providers are paid based on the value, both in quality and affordability, of the care they deliver.
We establish “market-based” hospital reimbursement payments that we believe are fair, but aggressive, and among the most competitive in the market. We also seek to ensure that physicians in our network are paid in a timely manner at appropriate rates. In many instances, we deploy multi-year contracting strategies, including case rates or fixed rates, to limit our exposure to medical cost inflation and to increase cost predictability. We maintain both broad and narrow provider networks to ensure member choice, based on both price and access needs, while implementing programs designed to improve the quality of care our members receive. Increasingly, we are supplementing our broad-based networks with smaller or more
cost-effective networks that are designed to be attractive to a more price-sensitive customer segment, such as public exchange customers.
Our reimbursement strategies vary across markets and depend on the degree of consolidation and integration of physician groups and hospitals. Under a fee-for-service reimbursement methodology for physicians, fee schedules are developed at the state level based on an assessment of several factors and conditions, including the CMS resource-based relative value system (“RBRVS”), medical practice cost inflation and physician supply. We utilize CMS RBRVS fee schedules as a reference point for fee schedule development and analysis. The RBRVS structure was developed, maintained, and updated by CMS and is used by the Medicare program and other major payers. In addition, we have implemented and continue to expand physician incentive contracting, or “pay-for-performance,” which ties physician payment levels to performance on clinical measures.
While we generally do not delegate full financial responsibility to our physician providers in the form of capitation-based reimbursement, we maintain capitation-based arrangements in certain markets where we determine that market dynamics result in it being a useful method to lower costs and reduce underwriting risk.
Our hospital contracts provide for a variety of reimbursement arrangements depending on local market dynamics and current hospital utilization efficiency. Most hospitals are reimbursed a fixed amount per day or reimbursed a per-case amount, per admission, for inpatient covered services. A small percentage of hospitals, primarily rural, sole community hospitals, are reimbursed on a discount from approved charge basis for covered services. Our “per-case” reimbursement methods utilize many of the same attributes contained in Medicare’s Diagnosis Related Groups methodology. Hospital outpatient services are reimbursed by fixed case rates, fee schedules or percent of approved charges. Our hospital contracts recognize unique hospital attributes, such as academic medical centers or community hospitals, and the volume of care performed for our members. To improve predictability of expected costs, we frequently use a multi-year contracting approach with providers. In addition, the majority of our hospital contracts include a pay-for-performance component where reimbursement levels are linked to improved clinical performance, patient safety and medical error reduction.
Our provider engagement and contracting strategies are moving away from “unit price” or volume-based payment models to payment models that align compensation with the value delivered as measured by healthcare outcomes, quality and cost. Our Enhanced Personal Health Care program augments traditional fee-for-service with shared savings opportunities for providers when actual healthcare costs are below projected costs and providers meet specific quality measures. The quality measures are based on nationally accepted, credible standards (e.g., NCQA, the American Diabetes Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics) and span preventive, acute and chronic care. We understand, however, that payment incentives alone are insufficient to create the large-scale, system-wide transformation required to achieve meaningful impacts on cost, quality and member experience. Accordingly, we are investing in care delivery transformation and population health management support structures to help providers succeed under value-based payment models. This support includes our web-based population health management technology and teams of dedicated practice consultants who work alongside providers, sharing best practices, and helping them leverage our data to the benefit of their patients. In some of these arrangements, participating physician practices receive a per-member, per-month clinical coordination fee to compensate them for important care management activities that occur outside of the patient visit (e.g., purchasing an electronic health record or hiring care management nurses), all of which have been shown to reduce healthcare costs and improve care outcomes. Since the launch of our Enhanced Personal Health Care program, we now have arrangements with provider organizations covering 52% of our PCPs and have rolled this program out in each of the 14 states where we operate as a licensee of the BCBSA.
Medical Management Programs
Our medical management programs include a broad array of activities that facilitate improvements in the quality of care provided to our members and promote cost-effective medical care. These medical management activities and programs are administered and directed by physicians and nurses. The goals of our medical management strategies are to ensure that the care delivered to our members is supported by appropriate medical and scientific evidence, is received on a timely basis and occurs in the most appropriate setting. The following is a general description of our medical management programs, which are available to our members depending on the particular plan or product in which they participate:
Precertification: A traditional medical management program involves assessment of the appropriateness of certain hospitalizations and other medical services prior to the services being rendered. For example, precertification is used to
determine whether a set of hospital and medical services is being appropriately applied to the member’s clinical condition, in accordance with criteria for medical necessity as that term is defined in the member’s benefits contract. All of our health plans have implemented precertification programs for selected medical services including surgeries, major diagnostic procedures, devices, drugs and other services to help members maximize benefits and avoid unnecessary charges or penalties. Through our American Imaging Management, Inc. subsidiary, doing business as AIM Specialty Health (“AIM”) we promote appropriate, safe and affordable member care in the areas of imaging, sleep disorders, cardiac testing, oncology drugs and musculoskeletal procedures. These expanded specialty benefit management solutions leverage clinical expertise and technology to engage our provider communities and members in more effective and efficient use of outpatient services.
Care coordination: Another traditional medical management strategy we use is care coordination, which is based on nationally recognized criteria developed by third-party medical specialists. With inpatient care coordination, the requirements and intensity of services during a patient’s hospital stay are reviewed, at times by an onsite, skilled nurse professional in collaboration with the hospital’s medical and nursing staff, in order to coordinate care and determine the most effective transition of care from the hospital setting. In addition, continued stay cases are reviewed with physician medical directors to ensure appropriate utilization of medical services. We also coordinate care for outpatient services to help ensure that patients with chronic conditions who receive care from multiple physicians are able to manage the exchange of information between physicians and coordinate office visits to their physicians.
Case management: We have implemented a medical management strategy focused on identifying the small percentage of the membership that will require a high level of intervention and assistance to manage their healthcare needs. Case management identifies members who are likely to be re-admitted to the hospital through claims analysis using predictive modeling techniques, the use of health risk assessment data, utilization management reports and referrals from a physician or one of our other programs, such as the 24/7 NurseLine. Registered nurses, medical directors, behavioral health experts, pharmacists and other clinicians focus on these members and help them coordinate their care through pharmacy compliance, post-hospital care, follow-up visits to see their physician and support in their home. Increasingly, we collaborate with our providers and key health partners within the member’s provider care team by providing actionable patient data insights, practice-coaching capabilities, technology and programs and products that help our providers and health partners to successfully deliver the right care, at the right time, in the right place.
Formulary management: We have developed formularies, which are selections of drugs based on clinical quality and effectiveness. A pharmacy and therapeutics committee of physicians uses scientific and clinical evidence to ensure that our members have access to the appropriate drug therapies and receive these therapies through proper settings.
Medical policy: A medical policy committee determines our national policies and guidelines for the application of medical technologies, procedures and services. This committee is comprised of internal and external physician leaders from various specialties and areas of the country. We also work in cooperation with academic medical centers, practicing community physicians and medical specialty organizations. All guidelines and policies are reviewed at least once a year or as new published clinical evidence becomes available.
Quality programs: We are actively engaged with our hospital and physician networks to enable them to improve medical and surgical care and achieve better outcomes for our members. We endorse, encourage and incentivize hospitals and physicians to support national initiatives to improve the quality of clinical care and patient outcomes and to reduce medication errors and hospital infections.
External review procedures: We work with outside experts through a process of external review to provide our members scientifically and clinically, evidence-based medical care. When we receive member concerns, we have formal appeals procedures that ultimately allow coverage disputes related to medical necessity decisions under the benefits contract to be settled by independent expert physicians.
Provider cost comparison tools: Through Estimate Your Cost, Care & Cost Finder, and other web-based tools, our members can compare cost estimates, quality accreditation data and patient reviews for common services at contracted providers, with cost estimates for facility, professional and ancillary services. These cost estimates bundle related services typically performed at the time of the procedure, not just for the procedure itself. Users can review cost data for over 400 common, shop-able medical procedures in all states. Members can also estimate out-of-pocket costs based on a member’s own benefit coverage, deductible, and out-of-pocket maximum. We also offer information on overall facility
ratings and patient experience using trusted third-party data. We continue to work on enhancing and evolving our tools to assist members in making informed and value-based healthcare decisions. In addition, we collaborate with an external independent vendor to support employers wanting to purchase a consumer engagement solution with certain additional functionality.
Anthem Health Guide: Anthem Health Guide integrates the customer service experience with clinical and wellness coaching to provide easier navigation of healthcare services for our members. Anthem Health Guide provides members with education on benefit options and digital opportunities that fit member references, and makes recommendations for eligible clinical programs to ensure members are connected to the most appropriate care and clinical resources. By allowing members to connect with us using voice, click-to-chat, secure email and mobile technology, we enhance our ability to engage with our members.
Anthem Whole Health Connection: Anthem Whole Health Connection is a differentiated approach to whole person health that connects medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, disability, behavioral health and supplemental health clinical and claims data to proactively identify health issues earlier and engage our members with their health providers in new ways to support health, lower costs and deliver a better healthcare experience. Anthem Whole Health Connection is included when Anthem health benefits are combined with one or more of the Anthem pharmacy, dental, vision, life, disability, behavioral health or supplemental health coverage plans.
Care Management Programs
We continue to expand our 360º Health suite of integrated care management programs and tools. 360º Health offers the following programs, among others, which are available to our members depending on the particular plan or product in which they participate, and have been proven to increase quality and reduce medical costs for our members:
ConditionCare and FutureMoms are care management and maternity management programs that serve as adjuncts to physician care. Skilled nurse professionals, with added support from our team of dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, health educators and other health professionals, help participants understand their condition, their doctor’s orders and how to become a better self-manager of their condition. We also offer members infertility consultation through our SpecialOffers@Anthem program, a comprehensive and integrated assembly of discounted health and wellness products and services from a variety of the nation’s leading retailers.
24/7 NurseLine offers access to qualified, registered nurses anytime. This allows our members to make informed decisions about the appropriate level of care and avoid unnecessary worry. This program also includes a referral process to the nearest urgent care facility, a robust audio library, accessible by phone, with more than 600 health and wellness topics, as well as on-line health education topics designed to educate members about symptoms and treatment of many common health concerns.
MyHealth Advantage utilizes integrated information systems and sophisticated data analytics to help our members improve their compliance with evidence-based care guidelines, providing personal care notes that alert members to potential gaps in care, enable more prudent healthcare choices, and assist in the realization of member out-of-pocket cost savings. Key opportunities are also shared with physicians through Availity® at the time of membership eligibility verification. Availity® is an electronic data interchange system that allows for the exchange of health information among providers over a secure network.
MyHealth Coach provides our members with a professional guide who helps them navigate the healthcare system and make better decisions about their well-being. MyHealth Coach proactively reaches out to people who are at risk for potentially serious health issues or have complex healthcare needs. Our health coaches help participants understand and manage chronic conditions, handle any health and wellness related services they need and make smart lifestyle choices.
HealthyLifestyles helps employees transform unhealthy habits into positive ones by focusing on behaviors that can have a positive effect on their health and their employer’s financial well-being. HealthyLifestyles programs include smoking cessation, weight management, stress management, physical activity, and diet and nutrition.
Behavioral Health Case Management is a comprehensive program supporting a wide range of members who are impacted by their behavioral health condition, including specialty areas such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression and
substance abuse. The program assists members and their families with obtaining appropriate behavioral health treatment, offering community resources, providing education and telephonic support, and promoting provider collaboration.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Program is a specialized case management program staffed by a dedicated team of clinicians who have been trained on the unique challenges and needs of families with a member who has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. These clinicians provide education, information on community resources to help with care and support, guidance on the appropriate usage of benefits, and assistance in exploring effective treatments, such as medical services, that may help the member and their families.
Employee Assistance Programs provide 24/7 telephonic support for personal and crisis events. Members also gain access to many resources that allow support within work and personal life by providing quick and easy access to confidential resources to help meet the challenges of daily life. Examples of services available include counseling, referral assistance with child care, health and wellness, financial issues, legal issues, adoption and daily living.
Healthcare Quality Initiatives
Increasingly, the healthcare industry is able to define quality healthcare based on preventive health measurements, outcomes of care and optimal care management for chronic disease. A key to our success has been our ability to work with our network physicians and hospitals to improve the quality and outcomes of the healthcare services provided to our members. Our ability to promote quality medical care has been recognized by NCQA, the largest and most respected national accreditation program for managed care health plans.
Several quality healthcare measures, including the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (“HEDIS®”), have been incorporated into NCQA’s accreditation processes. HEDIS® measures range from preventive services, such as screening mammography and pediatric immunization, to elements of care, including decreasing the complications of diabetes and improving treatment for patients with heart disease. In 2020, NCQA announced that it was eliminating its then-existing status levels for health plans and moving to CMS Star ratings in order to make accreditation ratings more transparent. Accredited plans earn ratings after they submit HEDIS/CAHPS reporting and can advertise the rating alongside their accreditation seal. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCQA did not release 2020-2021 Health Plan Ratings or Star ratings for any product line. CMS reported Star ratings for Medicare; however, HEDIS/CAHPS utilized the scores from the 2018 measurement year.
Even though the utilization of clinical data for scoring is uncertain, we continued to support our members by promoting health and wellness in a variety of ways. In an effort to promote the importance of preventive screenings and chronic condition management, we conducted check-in calls to high-risk Medicaid and Medicare members at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to address access to medication, adequate food supply and social isolation. Outreach was also conducted to remind our members of overdue screenings and appointment scheduling assistance was provided, when requested by the member. Additionally, to address our members’ concerns over potential exposure to COVID-19, we deployed home lab kits to members enabling them to complete colon cancer screenings and manage their diabetes in the safety of their own homes.
Our wholly-owned health outcomes research subsidiary, HealthCore, Inc. (“HealthCore”) generates consistent and actionable evidence to support decision making while helping to guide fresh initiatives for a range of stakeholders in the healthcare industry. By leveraging a rich array of medical and pharmacy utilization data queried from administrative claims, patient surveys, medical charts and laboratory diagnostics, among other health records, HealthCore’s multi-disciplinary research teams develop a broad spectrum of safety, clinical research trials, effectiveness, pharmacoepidemiology, and health economics evidence. HealthCore’s real world evidence and comparative effectiveness research, among other data, have played roles in the product planning and development campaigns of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and today it lists most of the leading biologics and drug manufacturers as clients or alliance partners.
Our AIM subsidiary supports quality by implementing clinical appropriateness and patient safety solutions for advanced imaging procedures, cardiology, sleep medicine, medical oncology, radiation therapy, rehabilitative, certain outpatient surgical and musculoskeletal services. These programs, based on widely accepted and evidence-based clinical guidelines, promote the most appropriate use of clinical services to improve the quality of overall healthcare delivered to our members and members of other health plans that are covered under AIM’s programs. To provide additional impact to its clinical appropriateness program, AIM has also implemented a provider assessment program, OptiNet®, which promotes more
informed selection of diagnostic imaging and testing facilities by providing cost and facility information to physician offices at the point that a procedure is ordered. We have also leveraged AIM’s provider network assessment information to proactively engage and educate our members about imaging providers and sleep testing choices based on site capabilities and cost differences. This program is another example of how we facilitate improvements in the quality of care provided to our members and promote cost-effective medical care.
Pricing and Underwriting of Our Products
We price our products based on our assessment of current healthcare claim costs and emerging healthcare cost trends, combined with charges for administrative expenses, risk and profit, including charges for the ACA taxes and fees, where applicable. We continually review our product designs and pricing guidelines on a national and regional basis so that our products remain competitive and consistent with our profitability goals and strategies.
Our revenue on Medicare policies is based on annual bids submitted to CMS. We base the commercial and Medicaid premiums we charge and our Medicare bids on our estimates of future medical costs over the fixed contract period. In applying our pricing to each employer group and customer, we aim to maintain consistent, competitive, disciplined underwriting standards. We employ our proprietary accumulated actuarial and financial data to determine underwriting and pricing parameters for both our fully-insured and self-funded businesses.
In most circumstances, our pricing and underwriting decisions follow a prospective rating process in which a fixed premium is determined at the beginning of the contract period. For our fully-insured business, any deviation, favorable or unfavorable, from the medical costs assumed in determining the premium is our responsibility. Some of our larger groups employ retrospective rating reviews, where positive experience is partially refunded to the group, and negative experience is charged against a rate stabilization fund established from the group’s favorable experience or charged against future favorable experience. In addition, our ACA and government fully-insured contracts may include minimum medical loss ratio, risk adjustment, or risk corridor arrangements, which also stabilize premiums based upon claims experience.
Our pharmacy pricing through IngenioRx is presented to market via discounts off the average wholesale price for drugs dispensed through the retail, mail and specialty channels as well as through rebate projections. We utilize group-specific script data, formulary, network and clinical care program selection combined with administrative expense, risk and profit guidance to set market competitive pricing discounts and rebate projections. Pharmacy pricing guidelines guide the underwriting process and undergo an annual external review process to ensure market competitiveness.
We are a party to license agreements with the BCBSA that entitle us to the exclusive, and in certain areas, non-exclusive use of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and marks in assigned geographic territories. BCBSA is a national trade association of Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees, the primary function of which is to promote and preserve the integrity of the BCBS names and marks, as well as provide certain coordination among the member companies. Each BCBSA licensee is an independent legal organization and is not responsible for obligations of other BCBSA member organizations. Although we have no right to market products and services using the BCBS names and marks outside of the states in which we are licensed to sell BCBS products, in accordance with the subscriber settlement agreement and release (“Subscriber Settlement Agreement”) that was agreed to in 2020 by the BCBSA and Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield licensees, including us (the “Blue plans”), some large national employers with self-funded benefits plans have a right to request a bid for insurance coverage from a second Blue plan in addition to the local Blue plan. We are required to pay an annual license fee to the BCBSA based on enrollment and also to comply with various requirements and restrictions regarding our operations and our use of the BCBS names and marks. These requirements and restrictions include, among other things: minimum capital and liquidity requirements; enrollment and customer service performance requirements; participation in programs that provide portability of membership between plans; disclosures to the BCBSA relating to enrollment and financial conditions; disclosures as to the structure of the BCBS system in contracts with third parties and in public statements; plan governance requirements; cybersecurity requirements; a requirement that at least 80% (or, in the case of Blue Cross of California, substantially all) of a licensee’s annual combined local net revenue, as defined by the BCBSA, attributable to healthcare plans and related services within its service areas must be sold, marketed, administered or underwritten under the BCBS names and marks; a requirement that at least two-thirds of a licensee’s annual combined national net revenue, as defined by the BCBSA, attributable to healthcare plans and related services must be sold, marketed, administered or underwritten under the BCBS names and marks; a requirement that neither a plan nor any of its licensed affiliates may permit an entity other than a plan or
a licensed affiliate to obtain control of the plan or the licensed affiliate or to acquire a substantial portion of its assets related to licensable services; governance requirements such as a requirement that we divide our Board of Directors into three classes serving staggered three-year terms; a requirement that we guarantee certain contractual and financial obligations of our licensed affiliates; and a requirement that we indemnify the BCBSA against any claims asserted against it resulting from the contractual and financial obligations of any subsidiary that serves as a fiscal intermediary providing administrative services for Medicare Parts A and B. In addition, a change of control or violation of the BCBSA ownership limitations on our capital stock, impending financial insolvency or the appointment of a trustee or receiver or the commencement of any action against us seeking our dissolution could cause a termination of our BCBSA license agreements.
We believe that we and our licensed affiliates are currently in compliance with these standards. The standards under the license agreements may be modified in certain instances by the BCBSA. See Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional details on the impact if we were not to comply with these license agreements and Note 14, “Commitments and Contingencies - Litigation and Regulatory Proceedings – Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation” of the Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information on the Subscriber Settlement Agreement.
Our operations are subject to comprehensive and detailed state, federal and international regulation throughout the jurisdictions in which we do business. These laws and regulations, which can vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, restrict how we conduct our businesses and result in additional burdens and costs to us. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are subject to amendments and changing interpretations in each jurisdiction. The application of these complex legal and regulatory requirements to the detailed operation of our businesses creates areas of uncertainty. In addition, there are numerous proposed healthcare laws and regulations at the federal and state levels, including single payer, Medicare for All and public option proposals, some of which could materially adversely affect our businesses if they were to be enacted.
Supervisory agencies, including federal and state regulators and departments of health, insurance and corporation, have broad authority to:
•grant, suspend and revoke licenses to transact business;
•regulate our products and services in great detail;
•regulate, limit, or suspend our ability to market products, including participation in Medicare and the ACA public exchanges;
•determine through a procurement process our ability to participate in certain programs, including state Medicaid programs;
•retroactively adjust premium rates;
•monitor our solvency and reserve adequacy;
•scrutinize our investment activities on the basis of quality, diversification and other quantitative criteria; and
•impose monetary and criminal sanctions for non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
To carry out these tasks, these government entities periodically examine our operations and accounts.
The health benefits business also may be adversely impacted by court and regulatory decisions that expand or invalidate the interpretations of existing statutes and regulations. It is uncertain whether we could recoup, through higher premiums or other measures, the increased costs of mandated benefits or other increased costs caused by potential legislation, regulation or court rulings. See Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Federal and state legislation has been enacted, and is likely to continue to be enacted, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has had, and we expect will continue to have, a significant impact on all of our lines of business, including mandates to waive cost-sharing on COVID-19 vaccination, testing, treatment and related services. The federal government enacted the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act in March 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in April 2020, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 in December 2020 (the “Appropriations Act”). These acts provide, among other things, prohibitions on prior authorization and cost-sharing for certain items and services related to COVID-19 tests, reforms including waiving Medicare originating site restrictions for qualified providers providing telehealth services, financial support to healthcare providers, including expansion of the Medicare accelerated payment program to all providers receiving Medicare payments, and funding to replenish and administer small business loan programs to help small businesses keep their workers employed and healthcare benefits covered in the group market.
Regulatory changes have also been enacted, and are likely to continue to be enacted, at the state and federal level in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those changes, which could have a significant impact on health benefits, consumer eligibility for public programs, and our cash flows, include mandated expansion of premium payment terms including the time period for which claims can be denied for lack of payment, mandates related to prior authorizations and payment levels to providers, additional consumer enrollment windows, and an increased ability to provide services through telehealth. We are providing extensions to premium payment terms in certain situations and working closely with state regulators that are mandating or requesting such relief.
The Appropriations Act
The Appropriations Act contains a number of provisions that may have a material effect upon our business, including procedures and coverage requirements related to surprise medical bills and new mandates for continuity of care for certain patients, price comparison tools, disclosure of broker compensation and reporting on pharmacy benefits and drug costs. The various health plan-related requirements of the Appropriations Act will go into effect on January 1, 2022, and our first report on pharmacy benefits and drug costs due on December 27, 2021.
State Regulation of Insurance Companies and HMOs
Our insurance and HMO subsidiaries must obtain a certificate of authority and maintain that license in the jurisdictions in which they conduct business. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) has adopted model regulations that, where adopted by states, require expanded governance practices, risk and solvency assessment reporting and the filing of periodic financial and operating reports. Most states have adopted these or similar measures to expand the scope of regulations relating to corporate governance and internal control activities of HMOs and insurance companies. Health insurers and HMOs are subject to state examination and periodic license renewal.
In addition, we are regulated as an insurance holding company and are subject to the insurance holding company acts of the states in which our insurance company and HMO subsidiaries are domiciled. These acts contain certain reporting requirements, as well as restrictions on transactions between an insurer or HMO and its affiliates, and may restrict the ability of our regulated subsidiaries to pay dividends to our holding companies. These holding company laws and regulations generally require registration with applicable state departments of insurance and the filing of reports describing capital structure, ownership, financial condition, certain intercompany transactions, enterprise risks, corporate governance and general business operations. In addition, state insurance holding company laws and regulations require notice or prior regulatory approval of transactions including acquisitions, material intercompany transfers of assets, guarantees and other transactions between the regulated companies and their affiliates, including parent holding companies. Applicable state insurance holding company acts also restrict the ability of any person to obtain control of an insurance company or HMO without prior regulatory approval. “Control” is generally defined as the direct or indirect power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person and is presumed to exist if a person directly or indirectly owns or controls 10% or more of the voting securities of another person. Dispositions of control generally are also regulated under the state insurance holding company acts.
The states of domicile of our regulated subsidiaries have statutory risk-based capital (“RBC”) requirements for health and other insurance companies and HMOs based on the Risk-Based Capital (RBC) For Health Organizations Model Act. These RBC requirements are intended to assess the capital adequacy of life and health insurers and HMOs, taking into account the risk characteristics of a company’s investments and products. In general, under these laws, an insurance company or HMO must submit a report of its RBC level to the insurance department or insurance commissioner of its state of domicile for each calendar year. The law requires increasing degrees of regulatory oversight and intervention as a company’s RBC declines. As of December 31, 2020, the RBC levels of our insurance and HMO subsidiaries exceeded all applicable mandatory RBC requirements. For more information on RBC capital and additional liquidity and capital requirements for a licensee of the BCBSA, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations–Liquidity and Capital Resources–Risk-Based Capital,” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Ongoing Requirements and Changes Stemming from the ACA
The ACA significantly changed the United States healthcare system. While we anticipate continued efforts to invalidate, modify, repeal or replace the ACA, either through Congress or court challenges, we expect the major portions of the ACA to remain in place and continue to significantly impact our business operations and results of operations, including pricing, minimum medical loss ratios (“MLRs”) and the geographies in which our products are available.
The ACA prohibits lifetime limits, certain annual limits, member cost-sharing on specified preventive benefits and pre-existing condition exclusions. Further, the ACA implemented certain requirements for insurers, including changes to Medicare Advantage payments and the minimum MLR provision that requires insurers to pay rebates to customers when insurers do not meet or exceed the specified MLR thresholds. In addition, the ACA also required a number of other changes with significant effects on both federal and state health insurance markets, including strict rules on how health insurance is rated, what benefits must be offered, the assessment of new taxes and fees (including annual fees on health insurance companies), the creation of public exchanges for Individuals and Small Groups, the availability of premium subsidies for qualified individuals, and expansions in eligibility for Medicaid. Changes to our business environment are likely to continue as elected officials at the national and state levels continue to enact, and both elected officials and candidates for election continue to propose, significant modifications to existing laws and regulations, including changes to taxes and fees. In addition, the legal challenges regarding the ACA, including a federal district court decision invalidating the ACA in its entirety, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2020 and has been stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, continue to contribute to this uncertainty.
In a separate development, in April 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government is required to pay health insurance companies for amounts owed, as calculated under the risk corridor program of the ACA. In June 2020, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims entered a final judgment stipulating that we are entitled to reimbursement for risk corridor amounts from 2014, 2015 and 2016. At the end of December 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued guidance on how to treat the risk corridor recoveries, which requires us to revise previously filed minimum MLR reports and issue incremental MLR rebate payments. We recognized the net premium impact of the risk corridor recoveries in the fourth quarter of 2020. We will continue to review and evaluate the impact of the ACA as any further developments or judicial rulings occur.
In general, the Individual market risk pool that includes public exchange markets has become less healthy since its inception in 2014 and continues to exhibit risk volatility. Based on our experience in public exchange markets to date, we have made adjustments to our premium rates and participation footprint and continue to evaluate the performance of our public exchange plans. In addition, insurers have faced uncertainties related to federal government funding for various ACA programs. These factors may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations if premiums are not adequate or do not appropriately reflect the acuity of these individuals. Any variation from our expectations regarding acuity, enrollment levels, adverse selection, or other assumptions utilized in setting premium rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, and cash flows.
Further, implementation of the ACA brings with it significant oversight responsibilities by health insurers that may result in increased governmental audits, increased assertions of False Claims Act violations, and an increased risk of other litigation.
Federal regulatory agencies continue to modify regulations and guidance related to the ACA and markets more broadly. Some of the more significant ACA rules are described below:
•The minimum MLR thresholds by line of business for the Commercial market, as defined by HHS, are as follows:
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New York state regulations require us to meet a more restrictive MLR threshold of 82% for both Small Group and Individual lines of business. The minimum MLR thresholds disclosed above are based on definitions of an MLR calculation provided by HHS, or specific states, as applicable, and differ from our calculation of “benefit expense ratio” based on premium revenue and benefit expense as reported in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Furthermore, the definitions of the lines of business differ under the various federal and state regulations and may not correspond to our lines of business. Definitions under the MLR regulation also impact insurers differently depending upon their organizational structure or tax status, which could result in a competitive advantage to some insurance providers that may not be available to us, resulting in an uneven playing field in the industry.
The ACA also imposed a separate minimum MLR threshold of 85% for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (“Medicare Part D plans”). Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans that do not meet this threshold will have to pay a minimum MLR rebate. If a plan’s MLR is below 85% for three consecutive years, enrollment will be restricted. A Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan contract will be terminated if the plan’s MLR is below 85% for five consecutive years.
In addition, state Medicaid programs are required to set managed care capitation rates such that a minimum 85% MLR is projected to be achieved; however, states are not required to collect remittances if the minimum MLR is not achieved.
Approximately 54.8% and 20.2% of our premium revenue and medical membership, respectively, were subject to the minimum MLR regulations as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020. Approximately 58.9% and 20.8% of our premium revenue and medical membership, respectively, were subject to the minimum MLR regulations as of and for the year ended December 31, 2019.
•The ACA created an incentive payment program for Medicare Advantage plans. CMS developed the Medicare Advantage Star ratings system, which awards between 1.0 and 5.0 stars to Medicare Advantage plans based on performance in several categories, including quality of care and customer service. The Star ratings are used by CMS to award quality-based bonus payments to plans that receive a rating of 4.0 or higher. The methodology and measures included in the Star ratings system can be modified by CMS annually. As of December 31, 2020, all of our Medicare Advantage plans have received a rating of 3.0 or higher.
•Regulations require premium rate increases to be reviewed for Small Group and Individual products above specified thresholds, and may be adjusted from time to time. The regulations provide for state insurance regulators to conduct the reviews, except for cases where a state does not have an “effective” rate review program or in federal enforcement states, in which cases HHS will conduct the reviews for any rate increase.
•The ACA precludes health insurers from using health status and gender in the determination of the insurance premium.
•The ACA imposed an annual Health Insurance Provider Fee (“HIP Fee”) on health insurers that write certain types of health insurance on U.S. risks, which has been permanently eliminated effective January 1, 2021. The HIP Fee was allocated to health insurers based on the ratio of the amount of an insurer’s net premium revenues written during the preceding calendar year to the amount of health insurance premium for all U.S. health risk for those certain lines of business written during the preceding calendar year. The HIP Fee was non-deductible for federal income tax purposes. Our affected products were priced to cover the increased selling, general and administrative and income
tax expenses associated with the HIP Fee when it was in effect. The total amount due from allocations to health insurers was $15.5 billion for 2020 and was suspended for 2019.
•Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates will not increase as much as they would otherwise due to the payment formula promulgated by the ACA that continues to impact reimbursements. We also expect further and ongoing regulatory guidance on a number of issues related to Medicare, including evolving methodology for ratings and quality bonus payments. CMS is also proposing changes to its program that audits data submitted under the risk adjustment programs in a way that would increase financial recoveries from plans.
Drug Benefit and Pharmacy Benefit Manager Regulation
Pharmacy benefit managers are regulated at both the federal and state levels and must comply with federal and state statutes and regulations governing labeling, packaging, advertising and adulteration of prescription drugs, dispensing of controlled substances, and licensing. In recent years the federal government has banned certain business practices, including “gag clauses,” which prohibited pharmacists from informing patients when a lower cost drug was available as a substitute, and “clawbacks,” which occurred when pharmacy benefit managers sought to recoup the difference between the reimbursed cost of the drug and the patient’s copay and the drug itself was less expensive than the copay paid by the patient. Regulation in the states varies dramatically and ranges from licensure of PBMs as third-party administrators, licensure specifically as a pharmacy benefit manager, and licensure accompanied by additional disclosures and limitations of business practices to varying degrees. The NAIC is working on a PBM model law that, if adopted widely, could result in a more standardized approach to PBM regulation in the states in the future. However, in December 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an Arkansas law regulating PBMs, which could be a precursor to greater state regulation of PBMs in the future.
A number of proposals are being considered at the federal and state levels that would increase regulation of drug benefits and pharmacy benefit managers. Such proposals under consideration include (1) regulation of rebates from drug manufacturers that would require rebate dollars to be applied at the point-of-sale, (2) federal policy changes to set the prices for a subset of drugs covered under the Medicare program, (3) reforms to the Medicare drug benefit, such as beneficiary cost-sharing changes that aim to lower consumer costs, (4) attempts at both the federal and state levels to ban the use of spread pricing contracts in both the Commercial and Medicaid markets, and (5) electronic prior authorizations of drugs. These reforms have the potential to have broad impacts on our PBM business and could materially adversely affect our business if they are enacted.
Privacy, Confidentiality and Data Standards Regulation
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and the administrative simplification provisions of HIPAA impose a number of requirements on covered entities (including insurers, HMOs, group health plans, providers and clearinghouses) and their business associates relating to the use, disclosure and safeguarding of protected health information. These requirements include uniform standards of common electronic healthcare transactions; privacy and security regulations; and unique identifier rules for employers, health plans and providers.
Also, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and corresponding implementing regulations have imposed additional requirements on the use and disclosure of protected health information such as additional breach notification and reporting requirements, contracting requirements for HIPAA business associate agreements, strengthened enforcement mechanisms and increased penalties for HIPAA violations. Federal consumer protection laws may also apply in some instances to privacy and security practices related to personally identifiable information.
The federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act generally places restrictions on the disclosure of non-public information to non-affiliated third parties, and requires financial institutions, including insurers, to provide customers with notice regarding how their non-public personal information is used, including an opportunity to “opt out” of certain disclosures. State departments of insurance and certain federal agencies adopted implementing regulations as required by federal law.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 encourages organizations to share cyber threat indicators with the federal government and, among other things, directed HHS to develop a set of voluntary cybersecurity best practices for organizations in the healthcare industry.
In addition, public exchanges are required to adhere to privacy and security standards with respect to personally identifiable information and to impose privacy and security standards that are at least as protective as those the public exchange has implemented for itself on insurers offering plans through the public exchanges and their designated downstream entities, including pharmacy benefit managers and other business associates. These standards may differ from, and be more stringent than, HIPAA.
Furthermore, states have begun enacting more comprehensive privacy laws and regulations addressing consumer rights to data protection or transparency that may affect our privacy and security practices, such as state laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act that govern the use, disclosure and protection of member data and impose additional breach notification requirements. State consumer protection laws may also apply to privacy and security practices related to personally identifiable information, including information related to consumers and care providers. Complying with conflicting cybersecurity regulations and varying enforcement philosophies, which may differ from state to state, requires significant resources and may materially and adversely affect our ability to standardize our products and services across state lines.
Federal regulations have been finalized in the following areas that will materially impact our operations:
•Federal regulations on data interoperability that will require claims data to be made available to third parties unaffiliated with Anthem; and
•Federal regulations requiring hospitals and health insurers to publish negotiated prices for services.
Federal regulations have also been proposed that will expand the final regulation on data interoperability to require health insurers to build new application programming interfaces to afford patients access to their health information and require electronic prior authorizations for commercial Qualified Health Plans in the federal exchange as well as Medicaid and CHIP fee-for-service and managed care organizations. These regulations are expected to materially impact our operations if finalized.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
The provision of services to certain employee welfare benefit plans is subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) a complex set of laws and regulations subject to interpretation and enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the Department of Labor. ERISA regulates certain aspects of the relationships between us, the employers that maintain employee welfare benefit plans subject to ERISA and participants in such plans. Some of our administrative services and other activities may also be subject to regulation under ERISA. In addition, certain states require licensure or registration of companies providing third-party claims administration services for benefit plans. We provide a variety of products and services to employee welfare benefit plans that are covered by ERISA. Plans subject to ERISA can also be subject to state laws, and the question of whether and to what extent ERISA preempts a state law has been, and will continue to be, interpreted by many courts.
Guaranty Fund Assessments
Under insolvency or guaranty association laws in most states, insurance companies and HMOs can be assessed for amounts paid by guaranty funds for policyholder losses incurred when an insurance company or HMO becomes insolvent. Most state insolvency or guaranty association laws currently provide for assessments based upon the amount of premiums received on insurance underwritten within such state (with a minimum amount payable even if no premium is received). Under many of these guaranty association laws, assessments are made retrospectively. Some states permit insurers or HMOs to recover assessments paid through full or partial premium tax offsets or through future policyholder surcharges. The amount and timing of any future assessments cannot be predicted with certainty; however, future assessments are likely to occur.
At Anthem, it starts with our culture, and our associates are critical to fulfilling our purpose of improving the health of humanity. As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 83,400 associates. We are working to build a high performance culture that enhances our ability to deliver on our commitments and guides us to address the challenges of today. We believe that our culture allows us to attract and retain talented and experienced individuals to support the communities we serve. Our
associates actively participate through online feedback tools and we leverage these associate feedback tools and engagement surveys to monitor and take action on responses.
Inclusion & Diversity
The diversity of our associates is central to achieving key strategies and improving performance. We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce enables a deeper connection with members and drives greater business results. We honor the diversity of our associates—in gender, race/ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, nationality, abilities and life experiences. As of December 31, 2020, our U.S. associate population was approximately 76% female and 48% ethnically diverse.
Growing and developing our talent internally is key to our succession plans and our ability to lead at our best every day. To inspire a high-performance culture and promote talent excellence, we offer individual, career and leadership development opportunities, encouraging associates to continually learn and grow. We offer various instructor-led and virtual instructor-led programs and maintain a vast curriculum of relevant, on-demand learning and development resources.
Health & Wellbeing
We have the privilege of touching the lives of millions of people each day, and for us, this starts with the health of our own associates. To improve the health and wellbeing of our associates, we offer a comprehensive compensation package, including competitive salaries, a 401(k) plan and medical, dental, vision and disability coverage. In addition, we offer our associates wellness and behavioral programs and tools to help them get and stay healthy and more easily manage their work and personal lives.
We moved swiftly in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic to promote the safety of our associates and best serve our members and communities. In March of 2020, we implemented business continuity plans, transitioning the majority of our associates to remote work environments, while maintaining service operations. We have provided our associates with additional benefits, support and resources to help them manage the complexities of working from home and handling caregiver and family needs. In addition to their current benefits, we are providing up to 80 hours of COVID-related additional paid time off for associates to use when they are unable to work due to quarantine or illness or to provide care to a family member, and we provided a one-month premium holiday and added an extra paid day off as a “Wellness Holiday” on December 31, 2020. In addition to our associate assistance program, we provide materials and behavioral health resources to our associates that address important emotional health issues.
We are a large accelerated filer (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”)) and are required, pursuant to Item 101 of Regulation S-K, to provide certain information regarding our website and the availability of certain documents filed with or furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers at www.sec.gov. Our website is www.antheminc.com. We have included our website address throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K as a textual reference only. The information contained on, or accessible through, our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We make available, free of charge, by mail or through our website, our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with or furnish it to the SEC. We also include on our website our Corporate Governance Guidelines, our Code of Conduct and the charter of each standing committee of our Board of Directors. In addition, we intend to disclose on our website any amendments to, or waivers from, our Code of Conduct that are required to be publicly disclosed pursuant to rules of the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). Anthem, Inc. is an Indiana corporation incorporated on July 17, 2001.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.
In evaluating our business, the risks described below, as well as the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, should be carefully considered. Any one or more of such risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and stock price and could cause our actual results of operations and financial condition to vary materially from past or anticipated future results of operations and financial condition. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also adversely affect us.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to prevent its spread are adversely affecting our business in a number of ways, and we are unable to predict the full extent of those impacts on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations, but the impact could be material.
The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, and the impact of COVID-19, and the actions taken to contain its spread or address its impact, could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial results in the future. We continue to closely monitor developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic to assess its ongoing impact on our business. The extent of this impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time, including, but not limited to, the transmission rate, duration and spread of the outbreak, its severity, the extent and effectiveness of the actions taken to contain the spread of the virus and address its impacts, and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume. Factors that could negatively impact our ability to operate successfully during or following the COVID-19 pandemic, or that could otherwise significantly adversely impact and disrupt our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations include, but are not limited to, the following:
•Continued increases in healthcare costs due to higher utilization rates of medical facilities and services, medical expenses and other increases in associated hospital and pharmaceutical costs. We continue to offer our members expanded benefit coverage, such as providing full coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment and governmental action has required, and may continue to require, us to provide additional coverage.
•Decreased predictability of Medicare and Medicaid rates due to changes in utilization of medical facilities and services, medical expenses, and other costs as a result of the impact of COVID-19. We experienced rate adjustments from certain state Medicaid regulators in 2020 in response to decreased utilization of medical facilities and services, and we may experience further adjustments in the future with regard to current and prior year rates.
•Increased estimation uncertainty on our claims liability due to the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare utilization and medical claims submission.
•A reduction in enrollment in our health benefits and PBM products and services, or a continued change in membership mix to less profitable lines of business, as a result of reductions in workforce by existing customers and other impacts of an economic downturn.
•Cash flow volatility or shortfalls caused by an increase in delayed, delinquent or non-collectable payments from customers and government payers.
•Reductions in our operating effectiveness as our employees work from home or otherwise are impacted by COVID-19. The majority of our workforce continues to work remotely in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which may exacerbate certain risks to our business, including an increased demand for information technology resources, increased risk of phishing and other cybersecurity attacks, and increased risk of unauthorized dissemination of sensitive personal information or proprietary or confidential information about us, our members or other third parties.
•Disruptions in our normal business operations due to disruptions in public and private infrastructure, including communications, financial services and supply chains.
•Loss of functionality due to the disruption of services provided to us by third-party vendors, including as a result of financial difficulties experienced by such vendors and the impact of vendor employees working from home or otherwise being impacted by COVID-19.
•A decrease in the value of our investments, which may result in losses charged to income.
•Increased cost of capital and limited ability to access the capital markets due to disruption and volatility in global financial markets or a downgrade in our credit rating.
If we fail to appropriately predict, price for and manage healthcare costs, the profitability of our products could decline, which could materially adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Our profitability depends in large part on accurately predicting and pricing healthcare costs and on our ability to manage future healthcare costs through medical management, product design, negotiation of favorable provider contracts and underwriting criteria. Total healthcare costs are affected by the number of individual services rendered, the cost of each service and the type of service rendered. Numerous factors affecting the cost of healthcare may adversely affect our ability to predict and manage healthcare costs, as well as our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. These factors include, among others, changes in healthcare practices, demographic characteristics including the aging population, medical cost inflation, the introduction of new technologies, drugs and treatments, increased cost of individual services, increases in the cost and number of prescription drugs, clusters of high cost cases, increased use of services, including due to natural catastrophes or other large-scale medical emergencies, epidemics or pandemics such as COVID-19, new treatment guidelines, new mandated benefits (such as the expansion of essential benefits coverage) and changes to other regulations impacting our business, such as the health plan price transparency regulations issued in October 2020 by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury (the “Health Plan Transparency Rule”) and the Appropriations Act.
Relatively small differences between predicted and actual medical costs or utilization rates as a percentage of premium revenues can result in significant changes in our results of operations. Generally, our premiums on Commercial policies and Medicaid contracts are fixed for a 12-month period and are determined several months prior to the commencement of the premium period. Our revenue on Medicare policies is based on bids submitted to CMS six months prior to the start of the contract year. Accordingly, the costs we incur in excess of our benefit cost projections generally are not recovered in the contract year through higher premiums. Existing Medicaid contract rates are often established by the applicable state, and our actual costs may exceed those rates. Although we base our Commercial premiums, our Medicare and Medicaid bids, and our acceptance of state-established Medicaid rates on our estimates of future medical costs over the fixed contract period, many factors, including those discussed above, may cause actual costs to exceed those estimated and reflected in premiums and bids.
Although federal and state premium and risk adjustment mechanisms could help offset healthcare benefit costs in excess of our projections if our assumptions utilized in setting our premium rates are significantly different than actual results, our results of operations and financial condition could still be adversely affected. The reserves that we establish for health insurance policy benefits and other contractual rights and benefits are based upon assumptions concerning a number of factors, including trends in healthcare costs, expenses, general economic conditions and other factors. To the extent the actual claims experience is unfavorable as compared to our underlying assumptions, our incurred losses would increase and future earnings could be adversely affected.
In addition to the challenge of managing healthcare costs, we face pressure to contain premium rates. Our customers may renegotiate their contracts to seek to contain their costs or may move to a competitor to obtain more favorable premiums. Further, federal and state regulatory agencies may restrict or prevent entirely our ability to implement changes in premium rates. A limitation on our ability to increase or maintain our premium or reimbursement levels or a significant loss of membership resulting from our need to increase or maintain premium or reimbursement levels could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
A significant reduction in the enrollment in our health benefits programs or PBM products or services, particularly in states where we have large regional concentrations, could have an adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
A significant reduction in the number of enrollees in our health benefits programs or PBM products or services could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. Factors that could contribute to a reduction in enrollment include: reductions in workforce by existing customers; a general economic upturn that results in fewer individuals being eligible for Medicaid programs; a general economic downturn that results in business failures and high unemployment rates, as has been experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; employers no longer offering certain healthcare coverage as an employee benefit or electing to offer coverage on a voluntary, employee-funded basis; participation on public exchanges; federal and state regulatory changes; failure to obtain new customers or retain existing
customers; premium increases and benefit changes; our exit from a specific market; negative publicity and news coverage; and failure to attain or maintain nationally recognized accreditations.
The states in which we operate that have the largest concentrations of revenues include California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. Due to this concentration of business in these states, we are exposed to potential losses resulting from the risk of state-specific or regional economic downturns impacting these states. If any such negative economic conditions do not improve, we may experience a reduction in existing and new business, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
A cyber attack or other privacy or data security incident could result in an unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential information, cause a loss of data, disrupt a large amount of our operations, give rise to remediation or other expenses, expose us to liability under federal and state laws, and subject us to litigation and investigations, which could have an adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
As part of our normal operations, we collect, process and retain certain sensitive and confidential information. We are subject to a variety of continuously evolving federal, state and international laws and rules regarding the use and disclosure of certain sensitive or confidential information, including HIPAA, the HITECH Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and numerous state laws governing personal information. Our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party service providers, are regularly the target of, and may be vulnerable to, cyber attacks, security breaches, acts of vandalism, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming and/or human errors or other threats.
We have been, and may in the future be subject to litigation and governmental investigations related to cyber attacks and security breaches, which could divert the attention of management from the operation of our business, result in reputational damage and have a material adverse impact on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. While we have contingency plans and insurance coverage for potential liabilities of this nature, they may not be sufficient to cover all claims and liabilities.
We cannot ensure that we will be able to identify, prevent or contain the effects of cyber attacks or other cybersecurity risks that bypass our security measures or disrupt our information technology systems or business. We have security technologies, processes and procedures in place to protect against cybersecurity risks and security breaches. However, hardware, software or applications we develop or procure from third parties may contain defects in design, manufacturer defects or other problems that could unexpectedly compromise information security. In addition, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and may not immediately produce signs of intrusion, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques, timely discover or counter them or implement adequate preventative measures. Viruses, worms or other malicious software programs may be used to attack our systems or otherwise exploit any security vulnerabilities, and such security attacks may cause system disruptions or shutdowns, or may cause personal information or proprietary or confidential information to be misappropriated or compromised. As a result, cybersecurity and the continued development and enhancement of our controls, processes and practices designed to protect our systems, computers, software, data and networks from attack, damage and unauthorized access remain a priority for us.
Noncompliance with any privacy or security laws and regulations, or any security breach, cyber attack or cybersecurity breach, and any incident involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure or use of, or access to, sensitive or confidential information, whether by us or by one of our third-party service providers, could require us to expend significant resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures and to remediate any damage. In addition, this could negatively affect our operations, cause system disruptions, damage our reputation, cause membership losses and contract breaches, and could also result in regulatory enforcement actions, material fines and penalties, litigation or other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
There are various risks associated with participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs, including dependence upon government funding and the timing of payments, compliance with government contracts and increased regulatory oversight.
We contract with various federal and state agencies, including CMS, to provide managed healthcare services, such as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplement, Medicaid, TANF, SPD, LTSS, CHIP, ACA-related Medicaid expansion programs and various specialty programs. We also provide various administrative services for several other entities
offering medical and/or prescription drug plans to their Medicaid or Medicare eligible members through our affiliated companies, and we offer employer group waiver plans which provide medical and/or prescription drug coverage to retirees. We are also participating in programs in several states for the care of dual-eligible members. Regulatory reform initiatives or changes in existing laws or regulations applicable to these programs, or their interpretations, are difficult to predict and could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Revenues from the Medicare and Medicaid programs are dependent, in whole or in part, upon annual funding from the federal government and/or applicable state governments, and base premium rates paid by each state or federal agency differ depending upon a combination of factors such as defined upper payment limits, a member’s health status, age, gender, county or region, benefit mix, member eligibility category and risk scores. Future rates may be affected by continued government efforts to contain costs as well as federal and state budgetary constraints, and certain state contracts are subject to cancellation in the event of the unavailability of state funds. Additionally, ongoing CMS system changes related to the data it uses to calculate risk scores in the Medicare Advantage program may impact our federal funding. If the federal government or any state in which we operate were to decrease rates paid to us, pay us less than the amount necessary to keep pace with our cost trends, cancel our contracts retroactively or seek an adjustment to previously negotiated rates, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, various states’ MMPs are still subject to uncertainty surrounding payment rates and other requirements, which could affect where we seek to participate in these programs. An unexpected reduction in payments, inadequate government funding or significantly delayed payments for these programs may adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Other potential risks associated with Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans include increased medical or pharmaceutical costs, data corrections identified as a result of ongoing auditing and monitoring activities, potential uncollectability of receivables resulting from processing and/or verifying enrollment, inadequacy of underwriting assumptions, inability to receive and process correct information (including inability due to systems issues by the federal government, the applicable state government or us), uncollectability of premiums from members, and limited enrollment periods. Actual results may be materially different than our assumptions and estimates and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Finally, there is the possibility that the Medicare Advantage program could be significantly impacted by any future modification, repeal or replacement of the ACA.
Our contracts with CMS and state governmental agencies contain certain provisions regarding data submission, risk adjustment, provider network maintenance, quality measures, claims payment, encounter data, continuity of care, call center performance and other requirements specific to federal and state program regulations. We have been subject in the past, and may again be in the future, to administrative actions, fines, penalties, liquidated damages or retrospective adjustments in payments made to our health plans as a result of a failure to comply with those requirements, which has impacted and in the future could impact our profitability. Due to decreased utilization of medical facilities and services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced retroactive rate adjustments by certain state Medicaid agencies, and rate adjustments may continue in the future. As members have accessed care during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced increased difficulty obtaining provider information required by CMS and state governmental agencies and, as a result, may have difficulty meeting these quality measures. In addition, we could be required to file a corrective plan of action with additional penalties for noncompliance, which could have a negative impact on future membership enrollment levels. Further, our existing CMS or state Medicaid contracts have not always been renewed, we have not always been awarded new contracts as a result of the competitive procurement process, and in some cases we have lost members under existing contracts as a result of a post-award challenge, each of which could take place again in the future and have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, the Star Rating System utilized by CMS to evaluate Medicare Advantage Plans may have a significant effect on our revenue, as higher-rated plans tend to experience increased enrollment and plans with a Star rating of 4.0 or higher are eligible for quality-based bonus payments and can market to and enroll members year-round. If we do not maintain or continue to improve our Star ratings, fail to meet or exceed our competitors’ Star ratings, or if quality-based bonus payments are reduced or eliminated, we may experience a negative impact on our revenues and the benefits that our plans can offer, which could materially and adversely affect the marketability of our plans, our membership levels, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Similarly, if we fail to meet or exceed any performance standards imposed by state Medicaid programs in which we participate, we may not receive performance-based bonus payments or may incur penalties.
In addition, our failure to comply with federal and state healthcare laws and regulations applicable to our participation in Medicaid and Medicare programs, including those directed at preventing fraud, abuse and discrimination in government-funded programs, could result in investigations, litigation, fines, restrictions on, or exclusions from, program participation, or the imposition of corporate integrity agreements or other agreements with a federal or state governmental agency, any of which could adversely impact our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
We are periodically subject to government audits, including CMS Risk Adjustment Data Validation (“RADV”) audits of our Medicare Advantage Plans to validate diagnostic data, patient claims and financial reporting, and audits of our Medicare Part D plans by the Medicare Part D Recovery Audit Contractor (“RAC”) as well as state Medicaid RAC programs authorized by the ACA. These audits could result in significant adjustments in payments made to our health plans, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. If we fail to report and correct errors discovered through our own auditing procedures or during a RADV or RAC audit, or otherwise fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations, we could be subject to fines, civil penalties or other sanctions which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to participate in these programs, and on our financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Our Medicare and Medicaid contracts are also subject to various MLR rules, including minimum MLR thresholds, rebate requirements and audits, which could adversely affect our membership and revenues if any of our state Medicare or Medicaid plans do not meet an applicable minimum MLR threshold. If a Medicare Advantage, MMP or Medicare Part D contract pays minimum MLR rebates for three consecutive years, it will become ineligible to participate in open enrollment. If a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D contract pays such rebates for five consecutive years, it will be terminated by CMS.
A change in our healthcare product mix may impact our profitability.
Our healthcare products that involve greater potential risk generally tend to be more profitable than administrative services products and those healthcare products where the employer groups assume the underwriting risks. Individuals and small employer groups are more likely to purchase our higher-risk healthcare products because such purchasers are generally unable or unwilling to bear greater liability for healthcare expenditures. Typically, government-sponsored programs also involve our higher-risk healthcare products. A shift of enrollees from more profitable products to less profitable products could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to develop and maintain satisfactory relationships with hospitals, physicians, PBM service providers and other healthcare providers, our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Our profitability is dependent in part upon our ability to contract on favorable terms with hospitals, physicians, PBM service providers and supply chain partners and other healthcare providers. Physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers may elect not to contract with us, and the failure to secure or maintain cost-effective healthcare provider contracts on competitive terms may result in a loss of membership or higher medical costs, which could adversely affect our business. In addition, consolidation among healthcare providers, ACO practice management companies, and other organizational structures that physicians, hospitals and other care providers choose, as well as the ability of larger employers to contract directly with providers, may change the way that these providers interact with us and may change the competitive landscape. Such organizations or groups of physicians may compete directly with us, which may impact our relationship with these providers or affect the way that we price our products and estimate our costs and may require us to incur costs to change our operations, which could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, price transparency initiatives, such as the Health Plan Transparency Rule, may impact our ability to obtain or maintain favorable contract terms. For example, beginning in 2021, hospitals will be required to publish online payer-specific negotiated charges for each item or services the hospital provides.
Our inability to contract with providers, or if providers attempt to use their market position to negotiate more favorable contracts or place us at a competitive disadvantage, or the inability of providers to provide adequate care, could adversely affect our business. In addition, we do not have contracts with all providers that render services to our members and, as a result, may not have a pre-established agreement about the amount of compensation those out-of-network providers will accept for the services they render, which can result in significant litigation or arbitration proceedings, or provider attempts to obtain payment from our members for the difference between the amount we have paid and the amount they have charged.
We are dependent on the success of our relationships with third parties for various services and functions.
We contract with various third parties to perform certain functions and services and provide us with certain information technology systems. Certain of these third parties provide us with significant portions of our business infrastructure and operating requirements. For example, a single vendor provides us with a wide range of technology infrastructure services, including end user (help desk and field support), data center, mainframe, storage and database services, cloud infrastructure and multi-cloud management services, and we are subject to the risks of any operational failure, termination or other restraints in this arrangement. We could become overly dependent on key vendors, which could cause us to lose core competencies. A termination of our agreements with, or disruption in the performance of, one or more of these service providers could result in service disruptions or unavailability, reduced service quality and effectiveness, increased or duplicative costs or an inability to meet our obligations to our customers. In addition, we may also have to seek alternative service providers, which may be unavailable or only available on less favorable contract terms. Any of these outcomes could adversely affect our business, reputation, cash flows, financial condition and operating results.
Our PBM services business in particular would be adversely affected if we are unable to contract on favorable terms with third-party vendors, including pharmaceutical manufacturers. We delegate certain PBM administrative functions, such as claims processing and prescription fulfillment, to CVS Health pursuant to the CVS PBM Agreement. If CVS Health fails to provide PBM services as contractually required, we may not be able to meet the full demands of our customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation and results of operations. For additional information on the CVS PBM Agreement, see “Business — Product and Service Descriptions,” in Part I, Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The failure to effectively maintain and upgrade our information systems could adversely affect our business.
Our business depends significantly on effective information systems, and we have many different information systems for our various businesses, including those that we have acquired as a result of our merger and acquisition activities. Our information systems require an ongoing commitment of significant resources to maintain and enhance existing systems and develop new systems in order to keep pace with continuing changes in information processing technology, emerging cybersecurity risks and threats, changing customer preferences, evolving industry and regulatory standards and legal requirements, including as a result of the ACA, the Health Plan Transparency Rule, the Appropriations Act and proposed federal data interoperability regulations. In addition, we may from time to time obtain significant portions of our systems-related or other services or facilities from independent third parties, which may make our operations vulnerable if such third parties fail to perform adequately.
Failure to adequately implement and maintain effective and efficient information systems with sufficiently advanced technological capabilities, or our failure to efficiently and effectively consolidate our information systems to eliminate redundant or obsolete applications, could result in competitive and cost disadvantages to us compared to our competitors, and a diversion of management’s time and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If the information we rely upon to run our business were found to be inaccurate or unreliable or if we fail to adequately maintain our information systems and data integrity effectively, we could experience problems in determining medical cost estimates and establishing appropriate pricing and reserves, have disputes with customers and providers, face regulatory problems, including sanctions and penalties, incur increases in operating expenses or suffer other adverse consequences, including a decrease in membership.
Large-scale medical emergencies may have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Natural disasters, war, terrorism, political events, global climate change and other similar occurrences could create large-scale medical emergencies or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. Large-scale medical emergencies can take many forms and can cause widespread illness and death and have other far-reaching impact. For example, the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has caused illness, deaths, quarantines, business and school shutdowns, reductions in business activity, travel and financial transactions, unemployment, labor shortages, supply chain interruptions and overall economic and financial market instability. In addition, federal and state law enforcement officials have issued warnings about potential terrorist activity involving biological and other weapons, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and the potential for a widespread pandemic of influenza or other illness coupled with the lack of availability of appropriate preventative medicines could have a significant impact on the health of the population
of widespread areas. If the United States were to experience widespread bioterrorism or other attacks, large-scale natural disasters in our concentrated coverage areas or an epidemic or pandemic such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our covered medical expenses could rise, our operations could be interrupted and we could experience a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations or, in the event of extreme circumstances, our viability could be threatened. Furthermore, global climate change could result in certain types of natural disasters occurring more frequently or with more intense effects, and may have a long-term effect on general economic conditions and the healthcare or pharmacy industry in particular, which could adversely affect our business and financial results. For additional information, see the risk factor above describing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
LEGAL, REGULATORY AND PUBLIC POLICY RISKS
We are subject to significant government regulation, and changes or proposed changes in the regulation of our business by federal and state regulators may adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations and the market price of our securities.
We are subject to significant state and federal regulation associated with many aspects of our business, including, but not limited to, licensing, premiums, marketing activities, provider contracting, access and payment standards, and corporate governance and financial reporting matters, as described in greater detail in Part I, Item 1 “Business—Regulation” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Further, the integration into our business of entities that we acquire, or the expansion of our business into new areas, may affect the way in which existing laws and rules apply to us, including by subjecting us to laws and rules that did not previously apply to us.
Changes in existing laws, rules and regulatory interpretation or future laws, rules, regulatory interpretations or judgments could force us to change how we conduct our business, affect the products we offer (and where we offer them), restrict revenue and enrollment growth, increase our costs, including operating, healthcare technology and administrative costs, restrict our ability to obtain new product approvals and implement changes in premium rates and require enhancements to our compliance infrastructure and internal controls environment, which could adversely impact our business and results of operations. In addition, legislative and/or regulatory policies or proposals that seek to manage the healthcare industry or otherwise impact our business may cause the market price of our securities to decrease, even if such policies or proposals never become effective.
We are required to obtain and maintain insurance and other regulatory approvals to market certain of our products, to increase prices for certain regulated products and to consummate some of our acquisitions and dispositions. Delays in obtaining or failure to obtain or maintain these approvals, as well as future regulatory action by state or federal authorities, could have a material adverse effect on the profitability or marketability of our health benefits or managed care products or on our business, financial condition and results of operations. For example, requirements in the Health Plan Transparency Rule and the Appropriations Act including the price comparison tool and other requirements have the potential to increase healthcare costs and our operating costs in order to comply, and also may impact provider negotiations and market pricing. In addition, changes in government regulations or policies that apply to government-sponsored programs such as Medicare and Medicaid including, among other things, reimbursement levels, eligibility requirements, benefit coverage requirements and additional governmental participation, could also adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. Where states allow certain programs to expire or have not opted for Medicaid expansion under the ACA, we could experience reduced Medicaid enrollment and reduced growth opportunities. If future modifications to laws and regulations significantly reduce Medicaid enrollment, our Medicaid business will be negatively impacted.
We have experienced assessments in the past under state or federal insolvency or guaranty association laws applicable to insurance companies, HMOs and other payers, and may experience assessments in the future if, for example, premiums established by other companies for their health insurance products, including certain long-term care products, are inadequate to cover their costs. Any such assessment could expose us to the risk of paying a portion of an impaired or insolvent insurance company’s claims through state guaranty associations. We are not currently able to estimate our potential financial obligations, losses, or the availability of offsets associated with potential guaranty association assessments; however, any significant increase in guaranty association assessments could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
We expect state legislatures will continue to focus on healthcare delivery and financing issues, including actions to reduce or limit increases to premium payments, provider billing protections, and broader reforms of their health insurance markets. State ballot initiatives can also be put to voters that would substantially impair our operating environment. If enacted into law, these state proposals could have a material adverse impact on our business, cash flows, operations or financial condition.
Additionally, from time to time, Congress has considered, and may consider in the future, various forms of managed care reform legislation which, if adopted, could fundamentally alter the treatment of coverage decisions under ERISA and could increase our costs, expose us to expanded liability or require us to revise the ways in which we conduct business. There have been legislative attempts to limit ERISA’s preemptive effect on state laws and litigants’ ability to seek damages beyond the benefits offered under their plans. If adopted, such limitations could increase our liability exposure, permit greater state regulation of our operations, and expand the scope of damages, including punitive damages, litigants could be awarded.
The ongoing changes to the ACA and related laws and regulations could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
The ongoing changes in federal and state laws and regulations stemming from the ACA, including the steps that have been taken to amend, repeal and limit the scope and application of the ACA, continue to represent significant challenges to the U.S. healthcare system. We are unable to predict how these events will ultimately be resolved, what impact the 2020 U.S. Presidential and Senate elections may have, and what the ultimate impact may be on our business, including, but not limited to, our products, services, processes and technology, and on our relationships with current and future customers and healthcare providers. The legal challenges regarding the ACA, including a federal district court decision invalidating the ACA in its entirety, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2020 and has been stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, continue to contribute to this uncertainty. Further regulations and modifications to the ACA at the federal or state level, including a judicial invalidation of the ACA, could significantly impact the market for our products, the regulations applicable to us and the fees and taxes payable by us and otherwise have significant effects on our business and future operations, some of which may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
In general, the risk pool for the Individual market, which includes public exchange markets, has become less healthy since its inception in 2014 and continues to exhibit risk volatility. In addition, insurers have faced uncertainties related to federal government funding for various ACA programs. Based on our experience in public exchange markets to date, we have made adjustments to our premium rates and geographic participation, and will continue to evaluate the performance of our public exchange plans, the future viability of the public exchanges and availability of federal subsidies, and may make further adjustments to our rates and participation going forward. These factors may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations if premiums are not adequate or do not appropriately reflect the acuity of these individuals. Any variation from our expectations regarding acuity, enrollment levels, adverse selection, or other assumptions utilized in setting premium rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, and cash flows.
For additional information related to the ACA, see Part I, Item 1 “Business” and Part II, Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We are subject to various risks associated with our international operations.
Certain of our subsidiaries that provide services to some of our health plans operate internationally and are subject to regulation in the jurisdictions in which they are organized or conduct business related to, among other things, taxation, intellectual property, investment, management control, labor, anti-fraud, anti-corruption and privacy and data protection regulations. In addition, we are subject to U.S. laws that regulate the conduct and activities of U.S.-based businesses operating abroad, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal sanctions against us, our officers or employees, restrictions or outright prohibitions on the conduct of our business and significant reputational harm.
We face risks related to litigation.
We are, and may in the future be, a party to a variety of legal actions that may affect our business, such as administrative charges before government agencies, employment and employment discrimination-related suits, employee benefit claims, breach of contract actions, tort claims and intellectual property-related litigation. In addition, because of the nature of our
business, we are subject to a variety of legal actions relating to our business operations, including the design, administration and offering of our products and services. These could include claims relating to the denial or limitation of healthcare benefits; federal and state false claims act laws; dispensing of drugs associated with our PBM business; professional liability claims arising out of the delivery of healthcare and related services to the public; development or application of medical policies and coverage and clinical guidelines; medical malpractice actions; product liability claims; allegations of anti-competitive and unfair business activities; provider disputes over reimbursement and contracts; provider tiering programs; narrow networks; termination of provider contracts; the recovery of overpayments from providers; self-funded business; disputes over co-payment calculations; reimbursement of out-of-network claims; the failure to disclose certain business practices; the failure to comply with various state or federal laws, including but not limited to, ERISA and the Mental Health Parity Act; and customer audits and contract performance, including government contracts. These actions or proceedings could result in substantial costs to us, require our officers to spend substantial time focused on the litigation, and result in negative media attention, and may adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are also involved in, or may in the future be party to, pending or threatened litigation of the character incidental to the business we transact or arising out of our operations, including, but not limited to, breaches of security and violations of privacy requirements, shareholder actions, compliance with federal and state laws and regulations (including qui tam or “whistleblower” actions), or sales and acquisitions of businesses or assets (including as a result of the now terminated Agreement and Plan of Merger between us and Cigna Corporation, or as more fully described under Note 14, “Commitments and Contingencies - Litigation and Regulatory Proceedings - Cigna Corporation Merger Litigation,” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K). From time to time, we are involved as a party in various governmental investigations, audits, reviews and administrative proceedings, including challenges relating to the award of government contracts. These investigations, audits and reviews include routine and special investigations by various state insurance departments, various federal regulators including CMS and the HHS Office of Inspector General, state attorneys general, the Department of Justice, and various offices of the U.S. Attorney General. Following an investigation, we may be subject to civil or criminal fines, penalties and other sanctions if we are determined to be in violation of applicable laws or regulations. Liabilities that may result from these actions could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition.
Recent court decisions and legislative activity may increase our exposure for any of these types of claims. In some cases, substantial non-economic (including injunctive relief), treble or punitive damages may be sought. Although we maintain insurance coverage for some of these potential liabilities, some liabilities and damages may not be covered by insurance, insurers may dispute coverage or the amount of insurance may not be enough to cover the damages awarded. In addition, insurance coverage for all or certain forms of liability may become unavailable or prohibitively expensive in the future. Any adverse judgment against us resulting in such damage awards could result in negative publicity and have an adverse effect on our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition.
There are various risks associated with providing healthcare services.
The direct provision of healthcare services by certain of our subsidiaries involves risks of additional litigation arising from medical malpractice actions based on our treatment decisions or brought against us or our associates for alleged malpractice or professional liability claims arising out of the delivery of healthcare and related services. In addition, liability may arise from maintaining healthcare premises that serve the public. The defense of any actions may result in significant expenses, and if we fail to maintain adequate insurance coverage for these liabilities, or if such insurance is not available, the resulting costs could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Additionally, many states in which certain of our subsidiaries operate limit the practice of medicine to licensed individuals or professional organizations comprised of licensed individuals. Business corporations generally may not exercise control over the medical decisions of physicians, and we are not licensed to practice medicine. Rules and regulations relating to the practice of medicine, fee-splitting between physicians and referral sources, and similar issues vary from state to state. Further, certain federal and state laws, including those covering our Medicare and Medicaid plans, prohibit the offer, payment, solicitation or receipt of any form of remuneration to induce, or in return for, the referral of patient care opportunities and also generally prohibit physicians from making referrals to any entity providing certain designated health services if the referring physician or related person has an ownership or financial interest in the entity. Any enforcement
actions by governmental officials alleging non-compliance with these rules and regulations could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Our PBM services business and related operations are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that are in addition to those we face in our core healthcare business.
We provide PBM services through our IngenioRx business, and we are responsible to regulators and our customers for the delivery of those PBM services that we contract to provide. Our PBM services business is subject to the risks inherent in the dispensing, packaging, fulfillment and distribution of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products, including exposure to liabilities and reputational harm related to purported dispensing and other operational errors by us or our PBM services suppliers. Any failure by us or one of our PBM services suppliers to adhere to the laws and regulations applicable to the dispensing of pharmaceuticals could subject our PBM business to civil and criminal penalties.
Our PBM services business is subject to federal and state laws and regulations that govern its relationships with pharmaceutical manufacturers, physicians, pharmacies and customers, including without limitation, federal and state anti-kickback laws, beneficiary inducement laws, consumer protection laws, ERISA, HIPAA and laws related to the operation of internet and mail-service pharmacies, as well as an increasing number of licensure, registration and other laws and accreditation standards that impact the business practices of a PBM services business. In addition, the practice of pharmacy is subject to federal and state laws and regulation, including those of state boards of pharmacy, individual state-controlled substance authorities, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Also, we and our third-party vendors are subject to registration requirements and state and federal laws concerning labeling, packaging, advertising, handling and adulteration of prescription drugs and dispensing of controlled substances. Noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations by us or our third-party vendors could have material adverse effects on our business, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and reputation.
Federal and state legislatures also regularly consider new regulations and changes to existing regulations for the industry that could materially affect current industry practices and our business, including the regulation implemented by HHS in November 2020 related to rebates and the pricing of pharmaceuticals, the Appropriations Act, and potential new regulations regarding rebates, fees from pharmaceutical companies, the development and use of formularies and other utilization management tools, the use of average wholesale prices or other pricing benchmarks, pricing for specialty pharmaceuticals, limited access to networks and pharmacy network reimbursement methodologies. In December 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an Arkansas law regulating PBMs that may be a precursor to greater state regulation of PBMs.
We are a party to license agreements with the BCBSA that entitle us to the exclusive and, in certain areas, non-exclusive use of the BCBS names and marks in our geographic territories. The termination of these license agreements or changes in the terms and conditions of these license agreements could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Our license agreements with the BCBSA contain certain requirements and restrictions regarding our operations and our use of the BCBS names and marks, and failure to comply with those requirements could result in a termination of the license agreements. The license agreements may be modified by the BCBSA, which could have a material adverse effect on our future expansion plans or results of operations. Further, BCBS licensees have certain requirements to perform administrative services for members of other BCBS licensees. As of December 31, 2020, we provided services to approximately 32 million Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield enrollees. If we or another BCBS licensee are not in compliance with all legal requirements or are unable to perform administrative services as required, this could have an adverse effect on our members and our ability to maintain our licenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Upon the occurrence of an event causing termination of the license agreements, we would no longer have the right to use the BCBS names and marks or to sell BCBS health insurance products and services in one or more of our service areas. Furthermore, the BCBSA would be free to issue a license to use the BCBS names and marks in these service areas to another entity. Our existing BCBS members would be provided with instructions for obtaining alternative products and services licensed by the BCBSA. We believe that the BCBS names and marks are valuable identifiers of our products and services in the marketplace.
Upon termination of either license agreement, the BCBSA would have the right to impose a “Re-establishment Fee” upon us, which would be used in part to fund the establishment of a replacement Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield licensee in the vacated service area. The fee is set at $98.33 per licensed enrollee. If the Re-establishment Fee was applied to our total Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield enrollees of approximately 32 million as of December 31, 2020, we would be assessed approximately $3 billion by the BCBSA. As a result, termination of the license agreements would have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
For more information on the BCBSA license agreements, including requirements, restrictions and termination events set forth in these license agreements, see Part I, Item 1, “Business — BCBSA Licenses” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Indiana law, other applicable laws, our articles of incorporation and bylaws, and provisions of our BCBSA license agreements may prevent or discourage takeovers and business combinations that our shareholders might consider to be in their best interest.
Indiana law, other applicable laws and regulations and provisions in our articles of incorporation and bylaws may delay, defer, prevent or render more difficult a takeover attempt that our shareholders might consider to be in their best interests. For instance, they may prevent our shareholders from receiving the benefit from any premium to the market price of our common stock offered by a bidder in a takeover context or adversely affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our stock.
The insurance holding company acts and certain health statutes of the states in which our insurance company or HMO subsidiaries are regulated restrict the ability of any person to obtain control of an insurance company or HMO without prior regulatory approval. Further, the Indiana Business Corporation Law contains business combination provisions that, in general, prohibit for five years any business combination with a beneficial owner of 10% or more of our common stock unless the holder’s acquisition of the stock was approved in advance by our Board of Directors.
Our articles of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that could have anti-takeover effects and may delay, defer or prevent a takeover attempt that our shareholders might consider to be in their best interests. Our articles of incorporation provide that no person may beneficially own shares of voting capital stock in excess of specified ownership limits, except with the prior approval of a majority of the “continuing directors.” The ownership limits, which may not be exceeded without the prior approval of the BCBSA, are the following: (1) for any institutional investor (as defined in our articles of incorporation), one share less than 10% of our outstanding voting securities; (2) for any non-institutional investor (as defined in our articles of incorporation), one share less than 5% of our outstanding voting securities; and (3) for any person, one share less than the number of shares of our common stock or other equity securities (or a combination thereof) representing a 20% ownership interest in us.
In addition, our articles of incorporation and bylaws: divide our Board of Directors into three classes serving staggered three-year terms (which is required by our license agreement with the BCBSA); permit our Board of Directors to determine the terms of and issue one or more series of preferred stock without further action by shareholders; restrict the maximum number of directors and the ability to increase that number; limit the ability of shareholders to remove directors; impose restrictions on shareholders’ ability to fill vacancies on our Board of Directors; impose advance notice requirements for shareholder proposals and nominations of directors to be considered at meetings of shareholders; prohibit shareholders from amending certain provisions of our bylaws; and impose restrictions on who may call a special meeting of shareholders.
The health benefits industry is subject to negative publicity, which could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
The health benefits industry is subject to negative publicity, which can arise from, among other things, increases in premium rates, industry consolidation, cost of care initiatives and debate around existing or proposed legislation. Negative publicity may result in increased regulation and legislative review of industry practices, which may further increase our costs of doing business and adversely affect our profitability by limiting our ability to market or provide our products and services, requiring us to change our products and services, or increasing the regulatory oversight under which we operate. In addition, any negative publicity concerning the BCBSA or other BCBSA licensees may adversely affect us and the sale of our health benefits products and services. Negative public perception or publicity of the health benefits industry in general, the BCBSA, other BCBSA licensees, or us or our key vendors in particular, could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
We face competition in many of our markets, and if we fail to adequately adapt to changes in our industry and develop and implement strategic growth opportunities, our ability to compete and grow may be adversely affected.
As a health benefits company, we operate in a highly competitive environment and in an industry that is subject to significant changes from and competition due to legislative reform, business consolidations, new strategic alliances, new market entrants, aggressive marketing practices, technological advancements and changing market practices such as increasing usage of telehealth. We also will have to respond to pricing and other actions taken by existing competitors and potentially disruptive new entrants in the public exchanges and in our other lines of business. These factors have produced and will likely continue to produce significant pressures on our profitability. Furthermore, decisions to buy our products and services are increasingly made or influenced by consumers, through means such as direct purchasing (for example, Medicare Advantage plans) and insurance exchanges that allow individual choice, or by large employers that may increasingly have the ability to contract directly with providers. This creates unique market pressures, and in order to compete effectively in the consumer-driven marketplace, we will be required to develop and deliver innovative and potentially disruptive products and services to satisfy evolving market demands.
In addition, the PBM industry is highly competitive, and IngenioRx is subject to competition from national, regional and local PBMs, other insurers, health plans, large retail pharmacy chains, large retail stores, supermarkets, other mail order and web pharmacies, discount cards and specialty pharmacies. Strong competition within the PBM business has generated greater demand for lower product and service pricing, increased revenue sharing and enhanced product and service offerings. Our inability to maintain positive trends, contract on favorable terms with pharmaceutical manufacturers for, among other things, rebates, discounts and administrative fees or a failure to identify and implement new ways to mitigate pricing pressures, could negatively impact our ability to attract or retain customers, negatively impact our margins and have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. In addition, legislative reforms such as the regulation issued by HHS in November 2020 related to rebates, and the Appropriations Act, which requires reporting of plan spending, the cost of plan pharmacy benefits, enrollee premiums and any manufacturer rebates received by the plan or issuer, may adversely affect our competitive position, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
In order to profitably grow our business in the future, we need to not only grow our profitable medical membership, but also continue to diversify our sources of revenue and earnings, including through the increased sale of our specialty products, such as dental, vision and other supplemental products, expansion of products, expansion of our non-insurance assets and establishment of new cost of care solutions, including innovations in PBM services. If we are unable to acquire or develop and successfully manage new opportunities that further our strategic objectives and differentiate our products from our competitors, our ability to profitably grow our business could be adversely affected.
We are currently dependent on the non-exclusive services of independent agents and brokers in the marketing of our healthcare products, particularly with respect to individuals, seniors and local group customers. We face intense competition for the services and allegiance of these independent agents and brokers, who may also market the products of our competitors. Our relationship with our brokers and independent agents could be adversely impacted by changes in our business practices to address legislative changes, including potential reductions in commissions and consulting fees paid to agents and brokers. We cannot ensure that we will be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors for these services or that competitive pressures faced by us will not materially and adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
For additional information, see “Business — Competition,” in Part I, Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We have built a significant portion of our current business through mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, and we expect to pursue such opportunities in the future.
The following are some of the risks associated with mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, referred to collectively as business combinations, that could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations:
•some of the business combinations may not achieve anticipated revenues, earnings or cash flow, business opportunities, synergies, growth prospects and other anticipated benefits;
•we may assume liabilities that were not disclosed to us or which were underestimated;
•we may experience difficulties in integrating business combinations, be unable to integrate business combinations successfully or as quickly as expected and be unable to realize anticipated economic, operational and other benefits in a timely manner or at all;
•business combinations, and proposed business combinations that are not completed, could disrupt our ongoing business, lead to the incurrence of significant fees, distract management, result in the loss of key employees, divert resources, result in tax costs or inefficiencies and make it difficult to maintain our current business standards, controls, information technology systems, policies and procedures;
•we may finance future business combinations by issuing common stock for some or all of the purchase price, which could dilute the ownership interests of our shareholders;
•we may compete with other firms, some of which may have greater financial and other resources, to acquire attractive companies;
•we may experience disputes with our partners in our strategic alliances and joint ventures, which could result in litigation or a loss of business; and
•future business combinations may make it difficult to comply with the requirements of the BCBSA and lead to an increased risk that our BCBSA license agreements may be terminated.
We face intense competition to attract and retain employees. Further, managing key executive transition, succession and retention is critical to our success.
Our success depends on our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and to integrate employees who have joined us through acquisitions. We face intense competition for qualified employees, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to attract and retain such employees or that such competition among potential employers will not result in increasing salaries. An inability to retain existing employees or attract additional employees could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
We would be adversely affected if we fail to adequately plan for the succession of our President and Chief Executive Officer and other senior management or retain key executives. While we have succession plans in place for members of our senior management, and employment arrangements with certain key executives, these plans and arrangements do not guarantee that the services of our senior executives will continue to be available to us or that we will be able to attract, transition and retain suitable successors.
As a holding company, we are dependent on dividends from our subsidiaries. These dividends are necessary to pay our outstanding indebtedness. Our regulated subsidiaries are subject to state regulations, including restrictions on the payment of dividends, maintenance of minimum levels of capital and restrictions on investment portfolios.
As a holding company, we are dependent on dividends and administrative expense reimbursements from our subsidiaries. Our regulated subsidiaries are not obligated to make funds available to us, and creditors of our subsidiaries will have a superior claim to certain of our subsidiaries’ assets. Furthermore, among other restrictions, state insurance and HMO laws may restrict the ability of our regulated subsidiaries to pay dividends. In some states, we have made special undertakings that may limit the ability of our regulated subsidiaries to pay dividends. In addition, our subsidiaries’ ability to make any payments to us will also depend on their earnings, the terms of their indebtedness, business and tax considerations and other legal restrictions. Our ability to repurchase shares or pay dividends in the future to our shareholders and meet our obligations, including paying operating expenses and debt service on our outstanding and future indebtedness, will depend upon the receipt of dividends from our subsidiaries. An inability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends in the future in an amount sufficient for us to meet our financial obligations may materially adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Most of our regulated subsidiaries are subject to RBC standards or other forms of minimum capital requirements imposed by their states of domicile that require them to report their results of risk-based capital calculations to the departments of insurance and the NAIC. Failure to maintain the minimum RBC standards could subject our regulated subsidiaries to corrective action, including state supervision or liquidation. Changes to the existing RBC standards and the
NAIC’s December 2020 adoption of an RBC requirement at the holding company level, which requires submission of the first report in May 2023, could further restrict our or our regulated subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends and adversely affect our business. In addition, as discussed in more detail above, we are a party to license agreements with the BCBSA which contain certain requirements and restrictions regarding our operations, including minimum capital and liquidity requirements, which could restrict the ability of our regulated subsidiaries to pay dividends.
Our regulated subsidiaries are subject to state laws and regulations that require diversification of their investment portfolios and limit the amount of investments in certain riskier investment categories, such as below-investment-grade fixed maturity securities, mortgage loans, real estate and equity investments, which could generate higher returns on their investments. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations might cause investments exceeding regulatory limitations to be treated as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus and risk-based capital, and, in some instances, require the sale of those investments.
We have substantial indebtedness outstanding and may incur additional indebtedness in the future, which could adversely affect our ability to pursue desirable business opportunities and to react to changes in the economy or our industry, and exposes us to interest rate risk to the extent of our variable rate indebtedness.
Our debt service obligations require us to use a portion of our cash flow to pay interest and principal on debt instead of for other corporate purposes, including funding future expansion. If our cash flow and capital resources are insufficient to service our debt obligations, we may be forced to seek extraordinary dividends from our subsidiaries, sell assets, seek additional equity or debt capital or restructure our debt. However, these measures might be unsuccessful or inadequate to meet scheduled debt service obligations, or may not be available on commercially reasonable terms.
We may also incur future debt obligations that might subject us to restrictive covenants that could affect our financial and operational flexibility. Our breach or failure to comply with any of these covenants could result in a default under our credit facilities or other indebtedness. If we default under our credit agreement, the lenders could cease to make further extensions of credit or cause all of our outstanding debt obligations under our credit agreement to become immediately due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest. If the indebtedness under our notes or our credit agreement or our other indebtedness is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due, on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.
A downgrade in our credit ratings could have an adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
Claims-paying ability as well as financial strength and debt ratings by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations are important factors in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies and health benefits companies. We believe our strong credit ratings are an important factor in marketing our products to customers. In addition, if our credit ratings are downgraded or placed under review, our business, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted by limitations on future borrowings and a potential increase in our borrowing costs. Each of the ratings organizations reviews our ratings periodically, and there can be no assurance that our current ratings will be maintained in the future.
The value of our intangible assets may become impaired.
As of December 31, 2020, we had $31 billion of goodwill and other intangible assets, representing 36% of our total consolidated assets. In accordance with applicable accounting standards, we periodically evaluate our goodwill and other intangible assets for potential impairment, using assumptions and judgments regarding the estimated fair value of our reporting units. Estimated fair values might be significantly different if other reasonable assumptions and estimates were to be used. If estimated fair values are less than the carrying values of goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives in future impairment tests, or if significant impairment indicators are noted relative to other intangible assets subject to amortization, we may be required to record impairment losses against future income.
The value we place on intangible assets may be adversely impacted if existing or future business combinations fail to perform in a manner consistent with our assumptions. In addition, from time to time we divest businesses, and any such divestiture could result in significant asset impairment and disposition charges, including those related to goodwill and other intangible assets. In addition, the estimated value of our reporting units may be impacted as a result of business decisions we
make associated with any future changes to laws and regulations, which could unfavorably affect the carrying value of certain goodwill and other intangible assets and result in impairment charges in future periods. Any future evaluations requiring an impairment of our goodwill and other intangible assets could materially affect our results of operations and shareholders’ equity which could, in turn, negatively impact our debt ratings or potentially impact our compliance with existing debt covenants.
The value of our investments is influenced by varying economic and market conditions, and a decrease in value may result in a loss charged to income.
We maintain a significant investment portfolio of cash equivalents and short-term and long-term investments in a variety of securities, which are subject to general credit, liquidity, market and interest rate risks. As a result, we may experience a reduction in value or loss of our investments, which may have a negative adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. Changes in the economic environment, including periods of increased volatility in the securities markets such as those experienced in 2020 related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, can increase the difficulty of assessing investment impairment and increase the risk of potential impairment of these assets. There is continuing risk that declines in fair value may occur and material impairments may be charged to income in future periods, resulting in realized losses.
Changes in tax laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may not be able to realize the value of our deferred tax assets.
Changes in tax laws and regulations , including a potential increase in U.S. corporate tax rates or changes in the deductibility of expenses, or changes in the interpretation of tax laws and regulations by federal and/or state authorities, could have a material impact on the future value of our deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities, could result in significant one-time charges in the current or future taxable years and could increase our future U.S. tax expense. In addition, we are regularly audited by federal and other tax authorities. Although we believe our tax positions comply with applicable tax law, the final determination of audits and any related litigation in the jurisdictions where we are subject to taxation could be materially different from our historical income provisions and accruals. These changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, any future increase in our valuation allowance with regard to our deferred tax assets would result in additional income tax expense and a decrease in shareholders’ equity, which could materially affect our financial position and results of operations in the period in which the increase occurs. A material decrease in shareholders’ equity could, in turn, negatively impact our debt ratings or potentially impact our compliance with existing debt covenants.
We also face other risks that could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations, which include:
•adverse securities and credit market conditions, which could impact our ability to meet liquidity needs;
•any requirement to restate financial results in the event of inappropriate application of accounting principles;
•a significant failure of our internal control over financial reporting;
•failure of our prevention and control systems related to employee compliance with internal policies, including data security;
•provider fraud that is not prevented or detected and impacts our medical costs or those of self-insured customers;
•failure to protect our proprietary information; and
•failure of our corporate governance policies or procedures.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED SEC STAFF COMMENTS.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.
We lease our principal executive offices located at 220 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to this location, we have operating facilities located in each state where we operate as licensees of the BCBSA, in each state where Amerigroup conducts business and in certain other states and countries where our other subsidiaries operate. A majority of these locations are also leased properties. Our facilities support our various business segments. We modified certain of our workforce practices in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including having the majority of our workforce work remotely. In the third quarter of 2020, our management introduced enterprise-wide initiatives to streamline our operations and optimize our business, including a reduction of our office space footprint. We believe that our properties are adequate and suitable for our business as presently conducted; however, we are continuing to evaluate our real estate strategy as it relates to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing needs of a more remote workforce.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
For information regarding our legal proceedings, see Note 14, “Commitments and Contingencies - Litigation and Regulatory Proceedings,” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which information is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Our common stock, par value $0.01 per share, is listed on the NYSE under the symbol “ANTM.”
As of February 4, 2021, there were 55,764 shareholders of record of our common stock.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
The information required by this Item concerning securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans is set forth in Part III, Item 12 “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table presents information related to our repurchases of common stock for the periods indicated (in millions, except share and per share data):
of Shares that
May Yet Be
|October 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020||1,236,624 ||$||288.64 ||1,234,200 ||$||2,093 |
|November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020||1,483,621 ||310.05 ||1,481,675 ||1,634 |
|December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020||1,744,143 ||314.04 ||1,725,700 ||1,092 |
|4,464,388 ||4,441,575 |
1Total number of shares purchased includes 22,813 shares delivered to or withheld by us in connection with employee payroll tax withholding upon exercise or vesting of stock awards. Stock grants to employees and directors and stock issued for stock option plans and stock purchase plans in the consolidated statements of shareholders’ equity are shown net of these shares purchased.
2Represents the number of shares repurchased through the common stock repurchase program authorized by our Board of Directors, which the Board evaluates periodically. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we repurchased 9,429,067 shares at an aggregate cost of $2,700 under the program, including the cost of options to purchase shares. The Board of Directors has authorized our common stock repurchase program since 2003. On January 26, 2021, our Audit Committee, pursuant to authorization granted by the Board of Directors, authorized a $5,000 increase to our common stock repurchase program. No duration has been placed on our common stock repurchase program, and we reserve the right to discontinue the program at any time.
The following Performance Graph and related information compares the cumulative total return to shareholders of our common stock for the period from December 31, 2015 through December 31, 2020, with the cumulative total return over such period of (i) the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (the “S&P 500 Index”) and (ii) the Standard & Poor’s Managed Health Care Index (the “S&P Managed Health Care Index”). The graph assumes an investment of $100 on December 31, 2015 in each of our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Managed Health Care Index (and the reinvestment of all dividends).
The comparisons shown in the graph below are based on historical data, and we caution that the stock price performance shown in the graph below is not indicative of, and is not intended to forecast, the potential future performance of our common stock. Information used in the graph was obtained from S&P Global Market Intelligence, a source believed to be reliable, but we are not responsible for any errors or omissions in such information. The following graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting materials” or to be “filed” with the SEC, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.
| ||December 31,|
|Anthem, Inc.||$||100 ||$||105 ||$||167 ||$||197 ||$||229 ||$||247 |
|S&P 500 Index||100 ||112 ||136 ||130 ||171 ||203 |
|S&P Managed Health Care Index||100 ||120 ||172 ||191 ||229 ||266 |
Based upon an initial investment of $100 on December 31, 2015 with dividends reinvested.
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
The table below provides selected consolidated financial data of Anthem. The information has been derived from our consolidated financial statements for each of the years in the five-year period ended December 31, 2020. You should read this selected consolidated financial data in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and notes as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020 included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” and Part II, Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
| ||As of and for the Years Ended December 31|
(in millions, except where indicated and except per share data)
| || || || || |
|Income Statement Data|
Total operating revenue2
|$||120,808 ||$||103,141 ||$||91,341 ||$||89,061 ||$||84,194 |
|Total revenues||121,867 ||104,213 ||92,105 ||90,040 ||84,863 |
|Net income||4,572 ||4,807 ||3,750 ||3,843 ||2,470 |
|Per Share Data |
|Basic net income per share||$||18.23 ||$||18.81 ||$||14.53 ||$||14.70 ||$||9.39 |
|Diluted net income per share||17.98 ||18.47 ||14.19 ||14.35 ||9.21 |
|Dividends per share||3.80 ||3.20 ||3.00 ||2.70 ||2.60 |
|Other Data (unaudited)|
Benefit expense ratio3
|84.6 ||%||86.8 ||%||84.2 ||%||86.4 ||%||84.8 ||%|
Selling, general and administrative expense ratio4
|14.4 ||%||13.0 ||%||15.3 ||%||14.2 ||%||14.9 ||%|
Income before income tax expense as a percentage of total revenues
|5.1 ||%||5.7 ||%||5.5 ||%||4.4 ||%||5.4 ||%|
|Net income as a percentage of total revenues||3.8 ||%||4.6 ||%||4.1 ||%||4.3 ||%||2.9 ||%|
Medical membership (in thousands)
|42,925 ||41,000 ||39,938 ||40,299 ||39,940 |
|Balance Sheet Data|
Cash and investments5
|$||31,295 ||$||26,127 ||$||22,639 ||$||25,179 ||$||23,263 |
|Total assets||86,615 ||77,453 ||71,571 ||70,540 ||65,083 |
|Long-term debt, less current portion||19,335 ||17,787 ||17,217 ||17,382 ||14,359 |
|Total liabilities||53,416 ||45,725 ||43,030 ||44,037 ||39,982 |
|Total shareholders’ equity||33,199 ||31,728 ||28,541 ||26,503 ||25,101 |
1The net assets of and results of operations for Beacon, America’s 1st Choice and HealthSun are included from their respective acquisition dates of February 28, 2020, February 15, 2018 and December 21, 2017, respectively.
2Operating revenue is obtained by adding premiums, product revenue, and administrative fees and other revenue.
3The benefit expense ratio represents benefit expenses as a percentage of premium revenue.
4The selling, general and administrative expense ratio represents selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of total operating revenue.
5Cash and investments is obtained by adding cash and cash equivalents, current and long-term fixed maturity securities and equity securities.
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
(In Millions, Except Per Share Data or As Otherwise Stated Herein)
This Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”), should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. References to the terms “we,” “our,” “us,” “Anthem” or the “Company” used throughout this MD&A refer to Anthem, Inc., an Indiana corporation, and, unless the context otherwise requires, its direct and indirect subsidiaries. References to the “states” include the District of Columbia, unless the context otherwise requires.
This section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K generally discusses 2020 and 2019 items and year-over-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019. A detailed discussion of 2018 items and year-over-year comparisons between 2019 and 2018 that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
We are one of the largest health benefits companies in the United States in terms of medical membership, serving approximately 43 medical members through our affiliated health plans as of December 31, 2020. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (“BCBSA”), an association of independent health benefit plans. We serve our members as the Blue Cross licensee for California and as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (“BCBS”) licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (in the New York City metropolitan area and upstate New York), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.) and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, we do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross. In addition, we conduct business through arrangements with other BCBS licensees as well as other strategic partners. Through our subsidiaries, we also serve customers in numerous states across the country as AIM Specialty Health, Amerigroup, Aspire Health, Beacon, CareMore, Freedom Health, HealthLink, HealthSun, Optimum HealthCare, Simply Healthcare, and/or UniCare. Also, in the second quarter of 2019, we began providing pharmacy benefits management (“PBM”) services through our IngenioRx subsidiary. We are licensed to conduct insurance operations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through our subsidiaries.
We manage our operations through four reportable segments: Commercial & Specialty Business, Government Business, IngenioRx and Other. In 2019, IngenioRx was included in our Other reportable segment. Amounts for 2019 have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation of our reportable segments for comparability.
Our operating revenue consists of premiums, product revenue, and administrative fees and other revenue. Premium revenue is generated from fully-insured contracts where we indemnify our policyholders against costs for covered health and life insurance benefits. Product revenue represents services performed by IngenioRx for unaffiliated PBM customers and includes ingredient costs (net of any rebates or discounts), including co-payments made by or on behalf of the customer, and administrative fees. Unaffiliated PBM customers include our self-funded groups that contract with IngenioRx for PBM services and external customers outside of the health plans we own. Administrative fees and other revenue come from fees from our self-funded customers for the processing of transactions or network discount savings realized, revenues from our Medicare processing business and revenues from other health-related businesses, including disease management programs and miscellaneous other income.
Our benefit expense primarily includes costs of care for health services consumed by our fully-insured members, such as outpatient care, inpatient hospital care, professional services (primarily physician care) and pharmacy benefit costs. All four components are affected both by unit costs and utilization rates. Unit costs include the cost of outpatient medical procedures per visit, inpatient hospital care per admission, physician fees per office visit and prescription drug prices. Utilization rates represent the volume of consumption of health services and typically vary with the age and health status of our members and their social and lifestyle choices, along with clinical protocols and medical practice patterns in each of our markets. A portion of benefit expense recognized in each reporting period consists of actuarial estimates of claims incurred but not yet paid by
us. Any changes in these estimates are recorded in the period the need for such an adjustment arises. While we offer a diversified mix of managed care products and services through our managed care plans, our aggregate cost of care can fluctuate based on a change in the overall mix of these products and services. Our managed care plans include: Preferred Provider Organizations; Health Maintenance Organizations (“HMOs”); Point-of-Service plans; traditional indemnity plans and other hybrid plans, including Consumer-Driven Health Plans; and hospital only and limited benefit products.
We classify certain quality improvement costs as benefit expense. Quality improvement activities are those designed to improve member health outcomes, prevent hospital readmissions and improve patient safety. They also include expenses for wellness and health promotion provided to our members. These quality improvement costs may be comprised of expenses incurred for: (i) medical management, including care coordination and case management; (ii) health and wellness, including disease management services for such conditions as diabetes, high-risk pregnancies, congestive heart failure and asthma management and wellness initiatives like weight-loss programs and smoking cessation treatments; and (iii) clinical health policy, such as identification and use of best clinical practices to avoid harm, identifying clinical errors and safety concerns, and identifying potential adverse drug interactions.
Our cost of products sold represents the cost of pharmaceuticals dispensed by IngenioRx for our unaffiliated PBM customers (net of rebates or discounts), including any co-payments made by or on behalf of the customer, per-claim administrative fees for prescription fulfillment and certain direct costs related to sales and administration of customer contracts.
Our selling, general and administrative expenses consist of fixed and variable costs. Examples of fixed costs are depreciation, amortization and certain facilities expenses. Certain variable costs, such as premium taxes, vary directly with premium volume. Commission expense generally varies with premium or membership volume. Other variable costs, such as salaries and benefits, do not vary directly with changes in premium but are more aligned with changes in membership. The acquisition or loss of a significant block of business would likely impact staffing levels and thus, associated compensation expense. Other variable costs include professional and consulting expenses and advertising. Other factors can impact our administrative cost structure, including systems efficiencies, inflation and changes in productivity.
Our results of operations depend in large part on our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage healthcare costs through effective contracting with providers of care to our members, product pricing, medical management and health and wellness programs, innovative product design and our ability to maintain or achieve improvement in our CMS Star ratings. Several economic factors related to healthcare costs, such as regulatory mandates of coverage as well as direct-to-consumer advertising by providers and pharmaceutical companies, have a direct impact on the volume of care consumed by our members. The potential effect of escalating healthcare costs, any changes in our ability to negotiate competitive rates with our providers and any regulatory or market-driven restrictions on our ability to obtain adequate premium rates to offset overall inflation in healthcare costs, including increases in unit costs and utilization resulting from the aging of the population and other demographics, the impact of epidemics and pandemics, as well as advances in medical technology, may impose further risks to our ability to profitably underwrite our business, and may have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.
For additional information about our business and reportable segments, see Part I, Item 1, “Business” and Note 20, “Segment Information” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) a global health pandemic. At the onset of the pandemic, to prevent its spread, most states issued shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, which generally required the businesses not considered essential to close their physical offices. While these orders were largely lifted during the second quarter of 2020, many states and local authorities continued to impose certain restrictions on the conduct of businesses and individuals.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and the virus and mitigation efforts have continued to impact the global economy, cause market instability, increase unemployment and put pressure on the healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and will continue to impact our membership and benefit expense and has influenced and will likely continue to influence member behavior, impacting how members access healthcare services. Although increased unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a decline in our Local Group membership, our Medicaid
membership grew as a result of the temporary suspension of eligibility recertification efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While reduced or cancelled utilization of non-COVID-19 health services by our members decreased our claim costs overall in 2020, in the second half of 2020 utilization of such services began to rebound, and non-COVID-19 claim costs began to normalize as the shelter-in-place, stay-at-home orders and other restrictions on the conduct of businesses were lifted. Our expenses in 2020 included additional costs to cover COVID-19 related testing, treatment, expanded coverage of insurance benefits, waivers for cost-sharing and actions to support our providers. Furthermore, our expenses associated with COVID-19, including testing and treatment and the actions taken to support our members in response to the pandemic, accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2020 and exceeded the benefit we experienced during the quarter from the lower volume of healthcare claims attributable to decreased utilization of non-COVID-19 health services.
We remain focused on increasing access and coverage for our members and made several changes to our membership benefits and business operations, adopted tools and policies to assist consumers and care providers and provided support to our associates and our local communities, which were discussed in Part I, Item 1, “Business — COVID-19,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Further, during 2020 we proactively took several actions to preserve our liquidity and financial flexibility and minimize the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
•Borrowing under our senior revolving credit facility in March 2020, which was repaid in April 2020;
•Delaying certain tax payments as permitted by the IRS and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”); and
•Temporarily suspending our share repurchase activity in March 2020, which was resumed in late June 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique and unprecedented challenges, and although it has impacted and will likely continue to impact our membership and benefit expense, it did not have a material adverse effect on our reported results in 2020. However, this may change in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, and the extent of its impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic as well as resulting legislative and regulatory changes that may impact our business. For additional discussion regarding our risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic and our other risk factors, see Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and “Business Trends” in this MD&A.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, as amended (collectively, the “ACA”), has changed and may continue to make broad-based changes to the U.S. healthcare system. We expect the ACA will continue to impact our business model and strategy. Also, the legal challenges regarding the ACA, including a federal district court decision invalidating the ACA, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2020 and has been stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, could significantly disrupt our business. We currently offer Individual ACA-compliant products in 103 of the 143 rating regions in which we operate. Our strategy has been, and will continue to be, to only participate in rating regions where we have an appropriate level of confidence that these markets are on a path toward sustainability, including, but not limited to, factors such as expected financial performance, regulatory environment, and underlying market characteristics. In addition, the continuing growth in our government-sponsored business exposes us to increased regulatory oversight.
In the second quarter of 2019, we began using IngenioRx to market and offer PBM services to our affiliated health plan customers throughout the country, as well as to customers outside of the health plans we own. Our comprehensive PBM services portfolio includes features such as formulary management, pharmacy networks, a prescription drug database, member services and mail order capabilities. IngenioRx delegates certain PBM administrative functions, such as claims processing and prescription fulfillment, to CaremarkPCS Health, L.L.C., which is a subsidiary of CVS Health Corporation, pursuant to a five-year agreement. With IngenioRx, we retain the responsibilities for clinical and formulary strategy and development, member and employer experiences, operations, sales, marketing, account management and retail network strategy. From December 2009 through December 2019, we delegated certain PBM functions and administrative services to Express Scripts, Inc. (“Express Scripts”). We began transitioning existing members from Express Scripts to IngenioRx in the second quarter of 2019, and completed the transition of all of our members by January 1, 2020.
Pricing Trends: We strive to price our healthcare benefit products consistent with anticipated underlying medical cost trends. We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts it may have on our pricing, such as surges
in COVID-19 hospitalizations, infection rates, and the cost of COVID-19 vaccines. We frequently make adjustments to respond to legislative and regulatory changes as well as pricing and other actions taken by existing competitors and new market entrants. Product pricing in our Commercial & Specialty Business segment, including our Individual and Small Group lines of business, remains competitive. Revenues from the Medicare and Medicaid programs are dependent, in whole or in part, upon annual funding from the federal government and/or applicable state governments. The ACA imposed an annual Health Insurance Provider Fee (“HIP Fee”) on health insurers that write certain types of health insurance on U.S. risks. We priced our affected products to cover the impact of the HIP Fee when it was in effect. The HIP Fee was suspended for 2019, was resumed for 2020 and has been permanently repealed beginning in 2021.
Medical Cost Trends: Our medical cost trends are primarily driven by increases in the utilization of services across all provider types and the unit cost increases of these services. We work to mitigate these trends through various medical management programs such as utilization management, condition management, program integrity and specialty pharmacy management, as well as benefit design changes. There are many drivers of medical cost trends that can cause variance from our estimates, such as changes in the level and mix of services utilized, regulatory changes, aging of the population, health status and other demographic characteristics of our members, epidemics, pandemics, advances in medical technology, new high cost prescription drugs, and healthcare provider or member fraud. Our underlying Local Group medical cost trends reflect the “allowed amount,” or contractual rate, paid to providers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decrease in utilization of non-COVID-19 health services, which decreased our claim costs in 2020. While the utilization of such services began to rebound and claim costs began to normalize in the second half of 2020, further increases in the utilization of such services may increase our claim costs in the future and affect our medical cost trends. Our expenses in 2020 include additional costs to cover COVID-19 related testing, treatment, expanded benefits coverage and waivers for cost-sharing. In response to the current crisis, we expanded coverage for certain members in our affiliated health plans for testing and treatment related to a COVID-19 diagnosis. Governmental action has required us to provide full coverage for COVID-19 testing to our members, and future governmental action could require us to provide additional coverage, including, for example, vaccines. Increased member demand for care, along with continued COVID-19 care, testing and vaccination costs, are expected to result in increased future medical costs. The continued cost and volume of covered services related to the COVID-19 pandemic may have a material adverse effect on our future claim costs. We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our business, financial condition, results of operations and medical cost trends.
For additional discussion regarding business trends, see Part I, Item 1, “Business” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Regulatory Trends and Uncertainties
Federal and state legislation has been enacted, and is likely to continue to be enacted, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has had, and we expect will continue to have, a significant impact on all of our lines of business, including mandates to waive cost-sharing on COVID-19 testing, treatment and related services. The federal government enacted the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act in March 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in April 2020 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 in December 2020 (the “Appropriations Act”). These acts provide, among other things, prohibitions on prior authorization and cost-sharing for certain items and services related to COVID-19 tests, reforms including waiving Medicare originating site restrictions for qualified providers providing telehealth services, financial support to healthcare providers, including expansion of the Medicare accelerated payment program to all providers receiving Medicare payments, and funding to replenish and administer small business loan programs to help small businesses keep their workers employed and healthcare benefits covered in the group market.
The Appropriations Act contains a number of provisions that may have a material effect upon our business, including procedures and coverage requirements related to surprise medical bills and new mandates for continuity of care for certain patients, price comparison tools, disclosure of broker compensation and reporting on pharmacy benefits and drug costs. The various health plan-related requirements of the Appropriations Act will go into effect on January 1, 2022, and our first report on pharmacy benefits and drug costs is due December 27, 2021.
Regulatory changes have also been enacted, and are likely to continue to be enacted, at the state and federal level in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those changes, which could have a significant impact on health benefits, consumer
eligibility for public programs, and our cash flows, include mandated expansion of premium payment terms including the time period for which claims can be denied for lack of payment, mandates related to prior authorizations and payment levels to providers, additional consumer enrollment windows, and an increased ability to provide services through telehealth. We are providing extensions to premium payment terms in certain situations and working closely with state regulators that are mandating or requesting such relief.
The ACA presented us with new growth opportunities, but also introduced new risks, regulatory challenges and uncertainties, and required changes in the way products are designed, underwritten, priced, distributed and administered. Changes to our business environment are likely to continue as elected officials at the national and state levels continue to enact, and both elected officials and candidates for election continue to propose, significant modifications to existing laws and regulations, including changes to taxes and fees. In addition, the legal challenges regarding the ACA, including a federal district court decision invalidating the ACA in its entirety, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2020 and has been stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, continue to contribute to this uncertainty. In a separate development, in April 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government is required to pay health insurance companies for amounts owed, as calculated under the risk corridor program of the ACA. In June 2020, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims entered a final judgment stipulating that we are entitled to reimbursement for risk corridor amounts from 2014, 2015 and 2016. At the end of December 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued final guidance on how to treat the risk corridor recoveries that we expect to receive. Based on the guidance from HHS, we revised previously filed minimum medical loss ratio (“MLR”) reports and recognized the net premium impact of the risk corridor recoveries in the fourth quarter of 2020. We will continue to evaluate the impact of the ACA as any further developments or judicial rulings occur.
The annual HIP Fee, which has been permanently eliminated beginning in 2021, was allocated to health insurers based on the ratio of the amount of an insurer’s net premium revenues written during the preceding calendar year to the amount of health insurance premium for all U.S. health risk for those certain lines of business written during the preceding calendar year. The HIP Fee was non-deductible for federal income tax purposes. Our affected products were priced to cover the increased selling, general and administrative and income tax expenses associated with the HIP Fee when applicable. The HIP Fee was suspended for 2019. For 2020, the HIP Fee resumed and the total amount due from allocations to health insurers was $15,523. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we recognized $1,570 as selling, general and administrative expense related to the HIP Fee. There was no corresponding expense for 2019 due to the suspension of the HIP Fee for 2019. The HIP Fee has been permanently eliminated beginning in 2021.
As a result of the ACA, the HHS issued MLR regulations that require us to meet minimum MLR thresholds of 85% for Large Group and 80% for Small Group and Individual lines of business. Plans that do not meet the minimum thresholds have to pay a MLR rebate. For purposes of determining MLR rebates, HHS has defined the types of costs that should be included in the MLR rebate calculation. However, certain components of the MLR calculation as defined by HHS cannot be classified consistently under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). While considered benefit expense or a reduction of premium revenue by HHS, certain of these costs are classified as other types of expense, such as selling, general and administrative expense or income tax expense, in our GAAP basis financial statements. Accordingly, the benefit expense ratio determined using our consolidated GAAP operating results is not comparable to the MLR calculated under HHS regulations.
The ACA also imposed a separate minimum MLR threshold of 85% for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (“Medicare Part D”). Medicare Advantage or M