The market forecasts for 2023 are all over the place, leaving many investors looking for reliable stocks with dependable dividends. That's particularly true now as the S&P 500 index has fallen more than 19% this year.

CVS Health (CVS -0.02%) and Becton, Dickinson (BDX 2.00%) are diverse healthcare companies that check all the boxes for reliability, and both companies' shares have easily outpaced the S&P 500. Their products are recession-resistant because they are the types of things people can't easily do without, such as prescription medicines or medical supplies.

Let's see why both could make good additions to investors' portfolios today.

CVS: Ready to grow again

CVS Health has done a good job of expanding its business from a retail pharmacy company to a healthcare provider model with its purchase of Aetna and by adding in-house clinics. So far this year, the stock is down a little more than 9%, but its finances appear to be on the upswing

The company is on track to deliver more than $315 billion in revenue this year, compared to $292 billion last year, while growing earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth consecutive year. For the first nine months of this year, it reported revenue of $238.6 billion, an increase of 10.7% year over year. The company also raised EPS guidance to be between $7.23 and $7.43 compared to $5.95 last year.

In November, the company also cleared away a cloud when it reached a settlement to end opioid lawsuits for $5 billion, to be paid over 10 years.

CVS, four years after its purchase of health insurer Aetna for $70 billion, has returned to regular dividend increases. From 2018 to 2021, its quarterly dividend was stuck at $0.50 per share, but last year, the company increased its dividend by 10% to $0.55, and it has already approved another 10% increase to $0.605 in 2023. Its current yield is 2.60%, above the S&P 500 average of 1.82%.

The company is in a better position to grow now that it has trimmed its quarterly net debt by 47% over the past three years, while growing quarterly revenue by 21% over that period. The big driver for the company has been its Health Care Benefits Segment, which reported nine-month revenue of $68.4 billion, up 11.2% year over year.

CVS Net Financial Debt (Quarterly) Chart

CVS Net Financial Debt (Quarterly) data by YCharts

Becton, Dickinson: Focusing on profitability

Becton, Dickinson is a huge medical equipment and technology company with a market capitalization of $72 billion and 70,000 employees that operates three segments: BD Medical, BD Life Sciences, and BD Interventional.

The company isn't well-known to consumers, but with 60,000 products -- including everything from syringes and alcohol swabs to automated inventory systems -- it's a huge supplier to the healthcare industry. Its shares have outshone the S&P 500 this year, rising more than 4%.

In the fourth quarter, the company reported revenue of $4.8 billion, down 1.8% year over year, while quarterly EPS was listed at $0.92 compared to $0.46 in the same quarter a year ago. 

Becton, Dickinson is implementing its BD 2025 plan to increase margins while seeking annual revenue growth of 5.5% or more and double-digit EPS growth, while maintaining its regular dividend increases. The key to BD 2025 is increased innovation in areas that show the most potential for profit. The rise in profitability shows the company's plan is working.

The company is a sensible pick for investors because of its consistency. It has increased its quarterly dividend for 51 consecutive years, including a 4.6% bump-up this year to $0.91, and the shares offer a yield of around 1.43%.