Filed Under:Health Insurance, Disability

CFOs notice the flu

The outbreak has hit Texas hard

A flu tent in Pennsylvania (AP photo/Express-Times/Matt Smith)
A flu tent in Pennsylvania (AP photo/Express-Times/Matt Smith)

Unexpected winter flu claims costs at publicly traded health insurers could total more than $160 million, or about 7.6 percent of their combined net income for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Disability insurers and long-term care insurance (LTCI) carriers have not been talking about the flu in their earnings releases, but unusually bad flu seasons could lead to increases in the number of claims for short-term disability, long-term disability and even long-term care (LTC) services, as well as an increase in the need for acute medical care and an increase in the death rate.

The companies are recording some of the flu claims in 2012 and some in 2013, and that will soften the effects of the claims on results in any one quarter.

At several companies -- Aetna, Centene, Humana and WellPoint -- the company's chief financial officer (CFO) spent time talking about flu costs during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call with securities analysts and investors.

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
Managing Editor

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