UPDATE 1-Insurer Anthem offers credits, cost waivers as part of $2.5 bln spending plan

(Adds details on Anthem’s plans)

June 4 (Reuters) - Anthem Inc said on Thursday it will give customers $2.5 billion in discounts as the health insurer waived costs and offered premium credits following a steep drop in some medical services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insurers have gained financially as Americans have cut back on medical appointments under stay-at-home orders designed to help slow the spread of the virus and allow hospitals and doctors to focus on COVID-19 patients.

Anthem said delays to routine care and elective procedures, combined with shelter-in-place orders across the country, resulted in lower volumes of healthcare claims for its health plans.

The company said it would provide one-month premium credit of 10% to 15% to certain individual plan members and fully insured employers.

Anthem’s move comes a month after larger rival UnitedHealth Group Inc said it planned to spend $1.5 billion on its customers, in part by issuing credits against some commercial health insurance premiums.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta