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Health Care Service Corp. headquarters (right). Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Health Care Service Corp., the parent of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 5 states, did not pay any federal income taxes in the first half of 2019. Instead, it got a $454 million tax refund, according to company financial documents.

The big picture: This comes after HCSC received a $1.7 billion federal tax refund in 2018 and highlights how Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers continue to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the 2017 Republican tax overhaul.

By the numbers: HCSC's net profit in the first half of 2019, including the $454 million refund, topped $2.3 billion. These figures do not reflect the corporation's self-insured business with employers.

  • HCSC was sitting on a $19.1 billion cash reserve as of June 30, several billion dollars more than competing insurers, including its publicly traded Blues brethren Anthem.

What we're watching: HCSC has $323 million of unpaid rebates that need to go out to consumers who were overcharged for insurance.

Between the lines: HCSC and other state Blue Cross Blue Shield plans heavily lobbied Congress and the White House to enact changes to the tax code starting in 2018. This was why.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.