Anthem saw its profits nearly double in the first quarter as its acquisition last year of 2.2 million-member Trigon Healthcare, Richmond, Va., continued to fuel growth. Net income for the three months ended March 31 reached $191.7 million, or $1.36 per share, up 92% from $99.8 million, or 95 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding one-time gains from the settlement of litigation and investment income, first-quarter earnings were $1.18 per share, meeting the Indianapolis-based company's forecast, which it had revised up earlier this month from between $1 per share and $1.05 per share. Revenue climbed 46% to $4 billion. Anthem, which operates Blues plans in nine states, projects full-year earnings of $5 to $5.05 per share.
Also reporting higher earnings were Coventry Health Care, Bethesda, Md., and Amerigroup Corp., Virginia Beach, Va., a Medicaid managed-care plan. Coventry said profits rose 74% to $49.5 million, or 83 cents per share, in the first quarter, reflecting an 18% increase in membership and higher premiums. Revenue rose 26% to $1.1 billion. Like other health insurers, Coventry raised its 2003 earnings outlook -- to between $3.40 per share and $3.50 per share, from prior guidance of $2.75 to $2.90. Amerigroup said its first-quarter earnings rose 39% to $13.7 million, or 63 cents per share. Revenue climbed 43% to $391.6 million. The company confirmed its 2003 earnings outlook of $2.90 per share. -- by Laura B. Benko