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WellPoint (NYSE:WLP), the United States’ second-largest health insurance provider, reported profit for the fourth quarter that beat analysts’ expectations, drawing upon low medical costs and enrollment gains from its Amerigroup acquisition. However, the insurer warned investors that it was giving a “prudent” outlook for this upcoming year as the healthcare industry faces significant changes.
For the three-month period, the company said Wednesday that net profit increased to $464.2 million, or $1.51 per share. These results were boosted by an income tax settlement from the Internal Revenue Service and investment gains. Without these special items, earnings rose to to $1.03 per share from 99 cents a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted a profit of 95 cents per share. In addition, revenue increased to $15.27 billion from $15.18 billion in the year-ago quarter.
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This earnings statement was the first to include Amerigroup figures, which contributed to a rise in membership; as of December 31, the insurer had 36.1 million people enrolled, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year…
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