WellPoint Announces 71% Increase in Second-Quarter Profit
Thousand Oaks-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc., the largest publicly traded Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan in the nation, yesterday announced a 71% increase in second-quarter profit, the Los Angeles Times reports. WellPoint reported that second-quarter profit increased to $170.7 million, or $1.12 per share, from $99.9 million, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected WellPoint to post a second-quarter profit of $1.08 per share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Analysts attributed the rise in WellPoint's second-quarter profit to increased enrollment in the insurer's health plans. Enrollment in WellPoint's health plans increased to 13 million in the second quarter -- a 27% rise from a year earlier -- in part as a result of several acquisitions made over the past year. In addition, Wellpoint's "aggressive" campaign to reduce health care costs, such as its "high-profile battle" with federal regulators to allow Schering-Plough to market the allergy treatment Claritin over-the-counter, also contributed to increased second-quarter profit, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 7/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.