Shares of health insurer Anthem — which encompasses several major factions of the sprawling Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance federation — rose 57% over the course of 2017, boosting its value to nearly $60 billion. What drew investors to a company that already had tens of billions in market capitalization and nearly 40 million members at the beginning of the year? A 325,000-member increase and an operating cash flow boost of 28% to $4.2 billion in 2017, to name just a couple of factors (not to mention the Anthem board’s decision to hike its quarterly dividend by 7.1%). On a broader level, the firm had to grapple with the scuttling of its proposed $54 billion purchase of rival insurer Cigna (a deal which quickly soured on both sides and faced regulatory scrutiny) and the departure of CEO Joseph Swedish, who was succeeded by industry veteran Gail Koziara Boudreaux in November.
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