Colorado Data May Indicate Good Obamacare News For WellPoint

One of the big fears for health insurers competing on the Obamacare Exchanges was the potential that a bad health makeup of enrollees would end up hurting the insurers. The first batch of rate filings in the state of Colorado appears to signal that at least for for WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) , one of the largest public participants in the exchanges, these worries may have been overblown.

Filings released on Monday indicate that HMO Colorado, WellPoint's Anthem subsidiary in Colorado,  rather than raising premiums to meet costs is actually seeking to reduce the average premiums it is charging in Colorado. The requests to reduce premiums on existing plans going into 2015 is a sign that the company managed to appropriately price its plans for the 2014 enrollment, meeting the expected costs incurred by policyholders. 

Company Lives Covered Min Chg % Max Chg % Wgt. Avg
HMO Colorado 112,095 -36.5 13.4 -5.1
Colorado Health Insurance Coop 7,965 -37.89 -.74 -9.63
Humana 12,800 -3.1 11 2.1
Kaiser 30,322 -9.3 14.3 7
Cigna  4,081 2.58 10.42 6.07
Colorado Choice 6,116 0.8 8.5 6.6
Denver Health 545 14.3 18.4 17.5
Rocky Mountain HMO 16,296 -2.2 25.4 3.1

Sources: https://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/real/external_forms.serff_link#

The data from the filings also shows another strong signal for WellPoint. Despite having profitable premiums the company was able to enroll a large share of total lives covered on the state's exchange. In our analysis of other states that have already released rate requests, the cheapest insurance carriers typically had the largest market share. Comparing on-exchange plans in Colorado shows that the Anthem / HMO Colorado plans are generally more expensive than counterparst offered by insurers like Humana (NYSE: HUM  ) and Kaiser.

Despite these higher prices, the filings indicate that Anthem plans cover a significant portion of total lives. While most of the data has indicated that consumers were primarily focused on premiums when it came to plan selection, WellPoint's offerings seem to have bucked that trend. This performance may be a result of the strength of the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand its plans are marketed under. 

While Colorado is only one of the 13 states where the company operates a Blue Cross / Blue Shield plan this first batch of data should allay some of the worries investors had regarding how the individual health insurance polices may impact the company's bottom line. Better yet is the possibility that the company may be in a position to pick up a significant enrollment market share over the next few years on the strength of its brand.

This article originally appeared on Value Penguin.

Obamacare is yesterday's news. This could be tomorrow's.
The best investors consistently reap gigantic profits by recognizing true potential earlier and more accurately than anyone else. Let me cut right to the chase. There is a product in development that will revolutionize not how we treat a common chronic illness, but potentially the entire health industry. Analysts are already licking their chops at the sales potential. In order to outsmart Wall Street and realize multi-bagger returns you will need The Motley Fool's new free report on the dream-team responsible for this game-changing blockbuster. CLICK HERE NOW.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 3013662, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/21/2014 6:57:17 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement