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A coronavirus testing tent outside a hospital in Massachusetts. Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Health insurance companies are not concerned yet that the new coronavirus is going to drive up their medical claims and spending.

The big picture: More people will need expensive hospitalizations to treat COVID-19, which has turned into a full-blown public health emergency. But insurers view the outbreak as an "extension of the flu season," according to a Wall Street bank that spoke with insurance executives last week.

What they're saying: Barclays held its health care conference digitally last week, and several insurance executives reiterated their companies' profit projections for this year — relatively remarkable statements considering economists believe a recession is imminent.

  • "We're not expecting a material financial impact," said Matt Manders, a top Cigna executive.

Between the lines: A lot more cases and hospitalizations are coming. But those will be partially offset, from an actuarial perspective, by delays or cancellations of costly elective procedures like joint replacements — something that hospitals are starting to do.

  • "There is a net saving" when nonemergency procedures are eliminated, Anthem CFO John Gallina told Barclays analysts.

The bottom line: The coronavirus is throttling almost every business in America. Large insurers think they're mostly immune, and if medical claims start to rise uncontrollably, they will increase everyone's premiums next year.

  • "We would price for this for 2021 to the extent there's any meaningful impact," Humana CFO Brian Kane said. "I would imagine the industry will as well."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

1 hour ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.