PacifiCare Reports Increased Fourth-Quarter Profit
Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems on Thursday announced fourth-quarter profit of $72 million, or 76 cents per share, up from $31.5 million, or 35 cents per share, a year earlier, the Los Angeles Times reports. Company officials attributed the increase in profit to membership growth and premium increases that exceeded health care cost increases.
CEO Howard Phanstiel said that membership in PacifiCare's low-cost, high-deductible Signature Freedom plans had increased by more than 63,000 to about 78,000 in the year ending Dec. 31, 2004. He added that membership in Signature Freedom plans was about 85,000 as of Feb. 1.
In addition, fourth-quarter revenue increased by 13% from $2.8 billion in fourth quarter 2003 to $3.2 billion in 2004.
Fourth-quarter earnings were consistent with analysts' expectations. Company officials did not alter their estimates for current fiscal year earnings of $3.64 to $3.80 per share.
PacifiCare plans to increase membership in its Medicare plans by 6%, or about 743,000 people, in 2005 (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 2/4).