Health insurer Anthem quarterly profit beats on lower medical costs


Adds details on the quarter

Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc ANTM.N beat quarterly profit estimates on Wednesday, aided by lower medical costs as customers delayed non-essential procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While health insurers have warned of higher costs in the back half of the year as pandemic-related restrictions ease, earlier this month larger rival UnitedHealth Group Inc UNH.N noted that demand for healthcare services remained below pre-pandemic levels.

Anthem's benefit-expense ratio, the share of premiums paid for medical services, improved to 86.8% from 87.2% a year earlier. Analysts on average expected 86.9%, according Refinitiv IBES estimates.

Excluding items, the company earned $4.20 per share in the quarter ended Sept. 30, ahead of the average analysts' estimate of $4.15.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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