WellPoint profits rise, beat analysts' expectations

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A milder-than-expected flu season helped WellPoint Inc. boost first-quarter profits by 8 percent, excluding investment gains and special charges, the Indianapolis-based health insurer reported Wednesday morning.

The results handily beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts. But continuing high unemployment forced WellPoint to slightly weakened its full-year forecast.

Profits in the three months ended March 31 totaled $877 million, or $1.96 per share. Excluding investment gains and a special accounting charge, WellPoint earned $1.95 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected WellPoint to earn $1.66 per share.

In the same quarter a year ago, WellPoint earned $809 million, or $1.62 per share. The company has been trying to boost its per-share profit numbers by buying back shares. It spent $1.6 billion in the first quarter to do that.

Revenue in the first quarter fell slightly from a year ago to $15.1 billion.

WellPoint added 165,000 new insured customers during the quarter, which was more than company officials had expected. The company now insures 33.8 million people, more than any of its peers.

But WellPoint also expects to lose more customers this year than the 400,000 company officials predicted in March. At that time, WellPoint said its customer rolls would drop to 33.3 million by year’s end. Now, it expects to drop another 200,000 to 33.1 million.

WellPoint maintained its full-year profit forecast at $6 per share, including its first-quarter investment gains of 4 cents and the special accounting charge of 3 cents.

The company’s stock has fallen since last week’s Reuters story about the company’s rescission policies sparked another high-profile rebuke from the Obama administration and a counter-charge by WellPoint that the story was “grossly misleading.”

WellPoint’s stock price has skidded 4.6 percent since the Reuters story appeared on April 22. Its shares closed Tuesday at $55.92 apiece.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.