Insurance giant's profits buoyed by Medicaid expansion in 2014

The country’s second-largest health insurance company said Wednesday that it far outpaced its enrollment expectations last year, with most of that growth coming from the expansion of Medicaid in dozens of states.

Insurance giant Anthem enrolled 1.8 million new customers in 2014, with nearly half of the new plans coming from Medicaid programs, its chief executive told reporters Wednesday.

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A total of 28 states have expanded their Medicaid programs in the last two years. The expansion of the low-income program is a major part of driving down the country’s uninsured rate under the Affordable Care Act.

Anthem, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans in 14 states, insures a total of 37.5 million people. The growing Medicaid rolls gave the company a $9 billion boost in government business revenues in the final quarter of the last year.

The expansion of Medicaid has made billions of dollars available across the country for insurers to run the government programs. Other health insurers, such as Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group, have also boosted their profits with help from the growing Medicaid rolls.