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Insurer WellPoint's 3Q profit falls 11 percent

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[October 28, 2009]  INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Health insurer WellPoint Inc. said Wednesday its third-quarter profit fell 11 percent as enrollment in employer-sponsored insurance plans continued to slip as more U.S. workers lost their jobs.

HardwareThe largest publicly traded health insurer based on enrollment said it earned $730.2 million, or $1.53 per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. The results include an impairment charge of 28 cents per share, partially offset by investment gains of 3 cents per share. That's down from $820.7 million, or $1.60 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell less than 1 percent to $15.21 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a profit of $1.37 per share on $15.15 billion in revenue.

Indianapolis-based WellPoint operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states, including California, New York and Ohio.

WellPoint's commercial enrollment fell by 985,000, or 3.5 percent. That category is mostly employer-sponsored group coverage.

Medical membership at quarter-end was 33.9 million, a decrease of 4.2 percent from the prior year.

For the full year, the company expects to earn $5.06 to $5.12 per share, including net investment losses of 52 cents per share and the third-quarter impairment charge of 28 cents per share.

In August WellPoint had pegged its profit in a range of $5.06 to $5.12 per share, including 54 cents per share of investment losses.

Analysts currently expect WellPoint to post an annual profit of $5.67 per share.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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