Wellpoint 3Q13 Earnings Call Notes

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This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“In the fully insured marketplace, the rollout of public insurance exchanges began October 1, and there has been a lot of activity around this area. We remain optimistic about the long-term membership growth opportunity through exchanges.

But given that we are just 3 weeks into the open enrollment period, it is really too early to draw any definitive conclusions. Based on what we know to date in our continuing review of the competitive landscape, we remain generally pleased with our positioning across the exchange markets. That said, it will likely be sometime before we can get an accurate picture of what our initial volume on exchanges could be in 2014, and what the resulting risk profile might look like. We note that open enrollment runs through March 31.”

“We can say that initial interest in exchange products appears robust. As a point of reference, during the first week of open enrollment, we received over 35,000 calls into our service centers, which is more than double our historical weekly volume for individual business. In the second week, this increased to nearly 45,000 inbound calls as consumer awareness began to ramp up across the regions.”

“Moving now to Medicare. Performance was stronger than we expected in the quarter, driven primarily by improvements in our Medicare Advantage business. We are making progress with our Medicare Advantage turnaround efforts consistent with our multi-year improvement and product repositioning strategy. Based on our review of the 2014 competitive landscape, we continue to expect some modest membership attrition next year as we have worked to offset most of the pressures stemming from CMS reimbursement cuts through a variety of levers.”

“Medical enrollment totaled 35.5 million medical members as of September 30”

“we’ve been working on this for a couple of years now. We knew that there would be some choppiness going in. We’ve hired bubble staff, we have a number of folks ready to assist our customers, working through the issues, and we’re not at all surprised by the initial activity.”

“We’re still comfortable with our margin range of 3% to 5% based on the pricing we’ve put forward and what we have out there. I”

“For the on-exchange, we’re generally very pleased with our positioning across most states with the strategies we’ve built out and the segments we’re looking at. I would say it’s — we have good data going in, so we feel we’re pretty well positioned when we make pricing assumptions. And there are some — there’s a wider variance on the on-exchange. There are certain markets that have a wider variance than you would expect. I would stake Colorado as a good example amongst our markets. The pricing on a metal level between the highest and the lowest competitor is pretty varied in Colorado.”

“Relative to where I think the industry thought the duals would be a year ago, things are moving at a slightly slower pace, but nonetheless, the opportunity remains significant and we think we’re very well positioned. ”

“we feel that brand will carry our membership and the early results are too difficult to tell, but we do seem to be pulling in the membership on a brand basis. There’s a deep affiliation to the Blue brand.”