(Bloomberg) -- Elevance Health Inc. raised its outlook for the year on first-quarter results that offered some relief to investors after a cyberattack against a rival roiled the health-insurance sector. 

Profit was $10.64 a share, Elevance said in a statement Thursday, compared to the $10.53 average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted earnings for the year will be greater than $37.20 a share, a 10-cent increase from the company’s earlier forecast. 

Elevance is the second health insurer to report results in a period that’s been unusually difficult to predict. A February cyberattack against a UnitedHealth Group Inc. unit bottlenecked payments and insurance claims across the industry.

That’s made it harder for insurers to estimate their expenses and put more focus on how much they allocate to cover members’ medical costs for claims they haven’t gotten yet. An Elevance executive said in mid-March that claims were down by about 10% since the cyberattack on Feb. 21.

The shares rose as much as 4.8% at the New York market open, their biggest intraday gain since Jan. 24. 

Elevance was not significantly affected by the cyberattack on UnitedHealth’s Change Healthcare unit, and is back to normal operations in terms of claims flow, Chief Executive Officer Gail Boudreaux said on a call with investors. 

“Our prior authorization, provider payments and pharmacy claims were not materially impacted as well because they don’t go through Change,” she said. 

Low Costs

The company’s medical-loss ratio, an important measure of medical expenses as a share of premium revenue, was 85.6%. Analysts were projecting 86.1%, and view a smaller number more favorably.

Investors have been concerned about rising medical costs for insurers since the middle of last year, when some of Elevance’s rivals including UnitedHealth called out escalating expenses. Those trends have been most evident in private Medicare Advantage plans, a market where Elevance has fewer members than its largest competitors.

The results were “slightly better than consensus with no obvious nits,” TD Cowen’s Gary Taylor said in a note. The company “navigated a challenging cost quarter with strong commercial pricing.”

Elevance’s medical membership fell about 4% from a year earlier to 46.2 million, slightly missing analyst’s estimates of 47.4 million. The company said some of the reductions were linked to restrictions on eligibility for Medicaid health plans that Elevance manages for states.


(Updates with comment, shares from fifth paragraph.)

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