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What's Behind Health Insurance Innovations' Mixed Q4 Results

By Keith Speights - Mar 4, 2020 at 6:00AM

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The online health insurance provider beat Wall Street earnings expectations but missed revenue estimates.

Health Insurance Innovations (BFYT) was having a great start to 2020. Its stock jumped more than 50% heading into this week. But that momentum hit a wall with renewed worries about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy.

The company announced its 2019 fourth-quarter and full-year results after the market closed on Tuesday. Here are the highlights from Health Insurance Innovations' Q4 update.

Health insurance sign up online on a tablet

Image source: Getty Images.

By the numbers

Health Insurance Innovations (HII) announced Q4 revenue of $160.9 million, up 22% year over year. This result was slightly lower than the average analysts' revenue estimate of $161.45 million. 

The company reported net income in the fourth quarter of $26.5 million, or $1.77 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This was a huge improvement from net income of $8.3 million, or $0.40 per share, posted in the prior-year period.

HII generated adjusted net income in the fourth quarter of $2.48 per share, a 156% year-over-year jump. This also handily beat the consensus Wall Street Q4 adjusted earnings estimate of $2.39 per share.

Behind the numbers

The star of the show for Health Insurance Innovations in Q4 was its Medicare segment. Revenue from this segment totaled $55.9 million in the fourth quarter compared with no Medicare revenue at all in the prior-year period. 

This gain more than made up for the bad news from HII's individual and family plan (IFP) segment. IFP revenue in Q4 fell 20.4% year over year to $105 million.

HII's total operating expenses increased by 8% year over year to $127.3 million, a much slower rate than its revenue growth. This made the difference in the company's impressive bottom-line performance. The key to this success was significantly lower third-party commissions compared with the prior-year period.

Looking ahead

Health Insurance Innovations expects that revenue for full-year 2020 will be between $290 million and $350 million. The company anticipates Medicare segment revenue for the year will be in the range of $190 million to $210 million, with IFP segment revenue between $190 million and $210 million. Adjusted earnings per share for the year are expected to be in the range of $3.10 to $4.15. These full-year estimates are well below consensus Wall Street estimates.

There are several key things for investors to look forward to in the coming months. The company plans to change its name to Benefytt Technologies effective March 6. This change is being made to reflect the company's strategy to become a premier health insurance technology provider.

HII is also exploring strategic alternatives that could include selling the company or merging with another company. This review process is still underway. The company said that it's "meeting with interested parties, including both strategic and financial institutions."

The U.S. presidential election this year could also impact healthcare stocks. Health Insurance Innovations shares could be especially volatile over the next few months.

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