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Regional News/Northeast: Magellan Health Services' 4th-quarter profit tumbles as revenue rises


By Rachel Landen
Posted: March 8, 2014 - 12:01 am ET
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Despite a boost in revenue, Magellan Health Services reported that its fourth-quarter earnings were cut in half as the Avon, Conn., healthcare management company's costs soared during the quarter.

Additionally, a recent contract loss to provide behavioral-health and substance-abuse treatment services to mentally ill children and adults in the Phoenix area threatens to cut a segment of Magellan's future earnings. Since Sept. 1, 2007, Magellan has held a contract with Maricopa County to provide those services, which generated net revenue of $755 million in 2013. But in March of last year, as the contract was set to expire, the state of Arizona awarded the mental health contract to another vendor.

Magellan has since filed a protest and several appeals, challenging the way in which the Arizona Department of Health Services scored the contract proposals and awarded it jointly to Mercy Care Plan and Maricopa Integrated Health System. But the state is moving ahead with the new contract, which could mean a hit to Magellan's revenue as early as the first quarter of this year.

Magellan's revenue climbed all through 2013, but in the final three months of the year, its net income fell.

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Acquisitions accounted for revenue reaching $1.01 billion, compared with $830.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Magellan added Partners Rx Management, a pharmacy benefits management company, and AlphaCare of New York, a Medicaid managed-care, long-term-care HMO and Medicare plan to its portfolio.

“Magellan Health Services is a very different company today than it was a year ago,” Chairman and CEO Barry Smith told investors during a Monday morning call. “While our core businesses continue to perform admirably, we've made significant advancements in our two strategic initiatives.”

But the expansion of its business and development of new product and service lines, along with an increase in other costs, contributed to the year-end slash in profits. Cost of care rose by 15% and cost of goods sold more than doubled. As a result, Magellan reported fourth-quarter net income of $18.5 million, down from $37 million a year ago.

Even as Magellan ended the year on a disappointing earnings note, Smith expressed optimism for the coming year. “Although 2014 will be a transitional year after the progress we made in 2013 on our strategic initiatives, we are poised for future long-term growth,” Smith said. “We are a more competitive company, better prepared to serve our customers and shareholders in the dynamic and changing healthcare market.”

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden


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