Anthem stock jumps on better health plan enrollment

Investors bid up shares of Anthem Inc. on Tuesday morning after the Indianapolis-based health insurer said its health plan membership ended the year at higher levels than expected.

Anthem reported that it has 38.6 million Americans enrolled in its various health plans, which was higher than the range of 38.3 million to 38.5 million that Anthem had issued in October.

After the news was released, Anthem’s share price shot up by more than $8, or as much as 6.3 percent. Anthem shares traded as high as $136.49 before falling a bit from that peak.

Anthem also disclosed that its 2015 earnings results will come in a bit below Wall Street’s estimates. The company expects to report profit of $10.16 per share, after adjusting for various extraordinary items. That falls within Anthem’s previous forecasted range of $10.10 to $10.20 per share.

But stock analysts were expecting $10.17 per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Anthem’s health plan enrollment got stronger as the year went along. In October, the company reported that it had added 174,000 health plan members in the third quarter. Its Medicaid, local employer and national employer segments all grew, although its individual business saw losses.

At that point, Anthem raised the high end of its its year-end enrollment projections by 50,000, before raising them by another 100,000 Tuesday.

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