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Photo: Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anthem posted better-than-expected earnings and raised its profit expectations for the rest of 2019, so Wall Street responded by … selling off the stock, dropping Anthem’s share price by 4.5%.

What's happening: Investors are freaking out because the big health insurance companies — UnitedHealth Group, Centene and now Anthem — have indicated their medical costs are rising faster than projected.

By the numbers: One of the most highly watched metrics for insurers is the medical loss ratio, which shows how much of members' premiums are going toward paying medical claims.

  • Anthem’s MLR in the second quarter was 86.7%, meaning almost 87 cents of every premium dollar went to cover someone’s medical expenses. That was higher than the 85.8% that Wall Street analysts had expected.
  • 0.9 percentage points may seem like a small difference, but that translates to roughly $200 million in unanticipated claims, given how large Anthem is.

Anthem argued that health care expenses aren’t rising wildly, but instead states are not paying high enough Medicaid rates to their plans.

The bottom line: Wall Street's latest sell-off is yet again obscuring the financial and political power insurers enjoy.

Go deeper: Wall Street has kind of soured on health care

Go deeper

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 53 mins ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

55 mins ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.