Oxford Health Plans, Trumbull, Conn., which struggled in the late 1990s, reported modest but better-than-expected growth for the first quarter ended March 30. Net income rose 5.7% to $71.4 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with $67.7 million, or 65 cents per share, for the year-ago period. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of 74 cents for the 2002 first quarter, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. Revenue climbed 8.4% to $1.17 billion. Based on the results, the company upped its full-year earnings projection by 10 cents to $3.40 per share and said commercial membership was likely to grow 4% rather than 2% as previously expected.
During the first quarter, Oxford's total membership--excluding recently acquired MedSpan--rose 4% to 1.57 million as it gained commercial enrollees while shedding Medicare membership. Medical costs, however, ate up 79.9% of premium revenue, compared with 79.5% in the year-ago quarter. Its administrative cost ratio also inched up to 11.3% from 11.2%. The company, which serves Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, had widely reported problems in the late 1990s, when its computer systems had difficulty keeping track of how much it owed physicians.