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

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,642,602 — Total deaths: 1,007,769 — Total recoveries: 23,387,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,191,061 — Total deaths: 205,998 — Total recoveries: 2,813,305 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed 46,600 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

Some 18,700 firefighters are battling 27 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: 8,155 wildfires have burned across a record 3.86 million acres, killing 26 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?