The nation's managed-care companies posted combined profits of $3 billion in the first quarter of 2004, up 33% from $2.3 billion in the year-ago quarter, Weiss Ratings said in a new report. HMOs' profit margins expanded to 3.8% in 2003, up from 2.3% in 2002 and 1.4% in 2001, but are still considered "slim" compared with the 8.2% and 8.3% margins enjoyed by the life and property-casualty insurance sectors, respectively, the report said. "Although the industry has enjoyed an increase in revenues by raising premiums, (health) insurers have also had to deal with the rising costs of medical care as a result of more open networks, an aging population, expensive medical advances and an inefficient healthcare system," Weiss Ratings Vice President Melissa Gannon said in a news release. Read the report on weissratings.com. -- by Laura B. Benko
Managed-care industry profits rise in first quarter
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