Insurance provider Triple-S reported $896.4 million in total operating revenues for the first quarter of 2020, a 13.8% increase from the prior year, company CEO Bobby García said.
The company recorded adjusted net income of $17.7 million or $0.75 per diluted share, in line with the same quarter last year, he said.
“Overall, we’re pleased with the first quarter in which we experienced solid revenue growth across all segments, gaining membership in our Medicare and fully insured commercial businesses and supported our customers, employees, providers and communities through two 100-year events: January earthquakes and the coronavirus outbreak,” he said during a call with analysts to discuss the most recent results.
“Like all of you, Puerto Rico has been grappling with the impact, implications and uncertainties caused by the pandemic over the past few months. That’s why, first and foremost, we want to provide an update on the current status of the island and what effects we believe the pandemic will have on Triple-S as we navigate through this new and challenging environment,” he said.
During the call, he said as a result of the strict lock-down and curfew that went into effect on Mar. 16, “the public health impact of the coronavirus has been quite limited so far in Puerto Rico.”
He said “hospitals have not been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients nor are they expected to be, based on current numbers and trends. Overall occupancy at hospitals, meaning for all patients, not just those diagnosed with COVID-19, is low.”
Specifically, he said 48% of adult beds, 57% of Intensive Care Unit beds, 36% of negative pressure rooms and 25% of adult ventilators were reported in use as of last week.
“This means there’s plenty of capacity in our hospital system if current trends were to change as Puerto Rico’s economy reopens. As in many other places, the island has not tested widely for the virus. Focusing instead on those with symptoms nor has it implemented an effective contact tracing system,” he said.
Because of the lack of widespread testing, there isn’t a “clear picture of the virus’ incidence on the island. However, we have observed other promising indications that its spread is under control.”
García said the indicators come from its own “claims experience, interactions with the provider community, government statistics and a comparison of the virus’ behavior in Puerto Rico with other jurisdictions that have historically experienced significant air travel and social ties to the island, such as New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and the Dominican Republic.”
As of Friday, Triple-S had seen 874 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses and 41 related hospitalizations within its membership.
“The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has been declining over the past two weeks as have patients placed in ICU wards and on ventilators. The number of deaths per 100,000 Puerto Rico residents is 3.1 compared with approximately 3.3 in Texas, seven in Florida, 25 in Pennsylvania and 129 in New York,” he said.
“Puerto Rico has 62 positive cases per 100,000 residents versus an estimated 119 in Texas, 176 in Florida, 421 in Pennsylvania and 1,689 in New York. While the number of tests performed in Puerto Rico at 397 per 100,000 residents is very low compared with the states I just mentioned, they are testing at a rate that is four to 10 times greater than ours,” García said.
He told analysts that the “curve of reported positive cases and deaths on the island has flattened over the last few weeks. And the Puerto Rico government estimates that the virus peak between the end of April and this first week of May.”
He said the lockdown prompted a decline in plan usage levels, which has continued so far in the second quarter “as people defer elective procedures and routine care, but we expect a spike in utilization later this quarter or in the third quarter as people gain enough confidence to begin seeking medical services in outpatient and inpatient settings.”