Elevance Health's (ELV) Low-Cost MA Plans to Widen U.S. Base

·4 min read

Elevance Health Inc. ELV recently announced that it will provide cost-effective Medicare Advantage plans through its affiliates during the 2023 Annual Enrollment Period. From Oct 15, 2022, around 33 million Medicare-eligible individuals across the United States can enroll in ELV’s plans without any premium or copay in relation to primary care physician visits.

Such affordable Medicare Advantage plans account for 75% of the total affiliated health plans of Elevance Health chalked out for next year. The concept of coming up with zero premium plans seems apt amid the ongoing inflationary pressure throughout the United States. The plans are cost-effective and will tend to the health needs of members with a comprehensive package and even include some added supplemental benefits.

This time, consumers can conveniently select the Medicare Advantage plan that conforms to their diversified needs. To complement the same, Elevance Health will integrate the lucrative facility of a single prepaid benefits card within its plans. The card will be stuffed with spending amounts that can be utilized for availing varied benefits integral to Medicare Advantage plans, thus relieving consumers from the unnecessary burden of possessing many cards to reap diverse gains.

The added benefits in Elevance Health’s plans also include over-the-counter drug benefits, resulting in savings while purchasing essential commodities, such as pain relievers and cold medications to name a few.

Benefits will also range from covering healthy grocery purchases to out-of-pocket expenses for dental, vision and hearing services. As an example, in the 2023 Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare Advantage consumers across Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio and Georgia will get an opportunity to avail an allowance through a monthly grocery card for the second consecutive year at more than 200 stores of the famous retailer Kroger KR.

The latest announcement marks Elevance Health’s goal to foray into new counties and subsequently, bolster the customer base of its Medicare Advantage plans. With the 2023 Annual Enrollment Period approaching fast, ELV aims to reach 2.1 million Medicare-eligible consumers across 145 new counties.

ELV also aims to incorporate Preferred Provider Organization (“PPO”) plans into 210 counties where 6.7 million Medicare-eligible individuals reside. Demand for Medicare Advantage plans of Elevance Health is likely to remain high in the days ahead, considering an aging U.S. population.

Elevance Health will also come up with a lucrative Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) that individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid can avail in the Annual Enrollment Period. In 2023, the health plan minus copays but with additional benefits ranging from dental, vision, hearing to healthy groceries will be extended to 21 states.

Shares of Elevance Health have gained 22.6% in a year against the industry’s decline of 36.1%.

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Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Elevance Health currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the Medical space are Humana Inc. HUM and Selecta Biosciences, Inc. SELB, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Humana’s earnings outpaced estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 9.09%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HUM’s 2022 earnings indicates a rise of 21.2%, while the same for revenues suggests an improvement of 11.8% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for HUM’s 2022 earnings has moved 0.6% north in the past 30 days.

The bottom line of Selecta Biosciences beat estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the mark once, the average being 59.13%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SELB’s 2022 earnings is pegged at 22 cents per share. The year-ago reported figure was a loss of 20 cents per share. The consensus mark for SELB’s 2022 earnings has moved 22.2% north in the past 60 days.

While shares of Humana have gained 20% in a year, the Selecta Biosciences stock has lost 63.7%.

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