Anthem, Indianapolis, saw third-quarter profits jump 54% as it raised premiums, controlled costs and boosted membership. Net income at the nation's largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan operator totaled $171.2 million, or $1.29 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $111.5 million, or $1.07 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed 38% to $3.5 million. Anthem's total enrollment rose 40% year-over-year to 11 million members, thanks in large part to its July acquisition of 2.2 million-member Trigon Healthcare, Richmond, Va. Meanwhile, commercial premiums jumped 15%, outpacing a slower-than-expected 13% rise in medical costs. As a result, the portion of Anthem's premiums used to pay medical bills dropped to 81.5% from 85.1% last year. The earnings increase led Anthem to raise full-year 2002 earnings projection to between $4.05 and $4.10 per share, compared with an earlier forecast of $3.85 to $3.95 per share. The company raised its 2003 earnings projection to between $4.65 and $4.75 per share, from an earlier estimate of $4.50 to $4.60 per share. -- by Laura B. Benko
Anthem's profits climb with higher premiums
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