Humana, Louisville, Ky., reported a 17% increase in second-quarter profits, buoyed by robust government business and lower-than-expected medical costs. Net income for the quarter reached $80.8 million, or 50 cents per share, up from $69.3 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 13% to $3.4 billion. Enrollment climbed 4% year over year to 6.9 million members, due partly to the April 1 acquisition of Ochsner Health Plan, New Orleans. Humana raised its 2004 per-share earnings forecast to $1.63 to $1.67, from a prior projection of $1.60 to $1.65.
Meanwhile, Coventry Health Care, Bethesda, Md., earned $84 million, or 93 cents per share, in the second quarter, up 32% from $63.4 million, or 70 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter, as higher premiums offset soaring medical costs. Revenue rose 20% to $1.31 billion on average rate increases of 13.5%. Enrollment climbed 14% year over year to almost 2.5 million members. Coventry said it expects full-year per-share earnings of $3.60 to $3.65; analysts had projected $3.56 per share, according to First Call. -- by Laura B. Benko