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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
34 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Pipeline hack spotlights cyber risks to energy systems

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline — the massive East Coast gasoline artery — is a stunning real-world example of the increasing risks that the energy sector faces from a cyberattack.

Why it matters: Different parts of the vast American energy system are vulnerable — from pipelines to power grids to individual power plants and plenty in between.

36 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: TikTok launching jobs service for Gen Z

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok is testing a tool for brands to recruit employees, sources tell Axios.

Details: The pilot program is designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates. It's also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.

Crypto media boom

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Axios Visuals

A slew of new crypto media companies have gained enormous traction over the past year, thanks to the digital currency craze taking over Wall Street.

Why it matters: “For the first time ever, crypto has become relevant to the global macro-economic conversation, and therefore, the investment conversation," says Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockworks, a financial media brand catered to investors.