WELLPOINT: Fourth-Quarter Profits Surpass Estimates
Woodland Hills-based Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. "said its fourth-quarter profit from operations rose 25% as it increased its membership and cut costs," the Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times reports. Membership grew 48% to 6.64 million last year, up from 4.48 million in 1996. The company's profits before charges increased to $58.6 million in 1997, up from a net income of $47 million a year earlier. Wellpoint joined Humana Inc. and United HealthCare Corp. in announcing gains at a time when large competitors such as Kaiser Permanente "are struggling to overcome losses racked up as medical costs rose faster than expected" (2/18).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.