The nation’s leading health insurers are experiencing an embarrassment of profits. Some of the largest companies, including Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth Group, are reporting second-quarter earnings that are double what they were a year ago.
On Wednesday, CVS Health, which owns Aetna, the big insurer, posted much higher earnings. CVS, which also owns a large pharmacy benefit manager and a drugstore chain, said net income for the second quarter reached $3 billion, about $1 billion more than it reported for the same period of 2019, on revenues of $65 billion.
Others had already trumpeted blockbuster results, ensuring that their stocks weathered swings in the markets. Anthem’s net income soared to $2.3 billion for the second quarter, from $1.1 billion in 2019, while UnitedHealth reported net earnings of $6.7 billion, compared with $3.4 billion for the same three months last year.
The companies’ staggering pandemic profits stand in stark contrast to the scores of small medical practices and rural hospitals that are struggling to stay open. And the earnings are putting a spotlight on the big insurance companies at a time when government officials in many states are facing massive budget shortfalls as businesses collapse, unemployment rises and tax revenues plummet.