The Pandemic Winners and Losers -

The Pandemic Winners and Losers

As small businesses and service providers struggle to find a way through the economic agonies imposed by the coronavirus outbreak, some concerns are flourishing.

A few are even outstripping their expectations and reporting healthy profits.

Online retailers (Amazon being the most prominent example), streaming entertainment services like Netflix and Disney and alcohol distillers are finding a health catastrophe is just plain good for business.

Among those businesses who are finding an opportunity are health insurance companies.

The most recent reporting from the major U.S. healthcare providers show them pulling down billions in profits – and some of the more entrenched providers have actually doubled profits.

As hospitals find their capacity tested by a deluge of patients, they’re facing astonishing financial losses.

But one unexpected consequence has been the fact that the largest health insurance concerns have found they’re off the hook for shelling out when it comes to major surgeries and the more involved procedures. Researchers say this slowdown is largely due to a “fear factor” as patients have stopped visiting doctors. The savings on outlay for such visits and procedures has meant enormous increases in net income for health insurance companies across the board.

The difference in profits from Q2 of 2009 and Q2 of 2020 is indeed startling.

A huge player in the sector, United Health Group, nearly doubled income from $3.4 billion to $6.7 billion. Anthem saw similar growth, at least by percentage, as their revenues climbed from $1.1 billion to $2.3 billion over the same period.

CVS Health – the owners of insurance giant Aetna – added an $1 billion dollars in net income during Q2 of 2020.

Insurer Humana posted net income of $1.8 billion, approximately double of the $940 billion the company reported for Q2 of 2019.

While the Affordable Care Act capped profits for health insurance companies as a result of the requirement that such insurers provide rebates to customers. The slow response from such insurers to payouts has led Department of Health and Human Services to admonish and call on health insurance companies to speed up that rebate process and cut back on the cost of premiums.

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