Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pittsburgh, more than tripled its operating income in 2004, posting a gain of $339.4 million on revenue of $8.9 billion, a 3.8% margin, compared with $105.8 million on revenue of $8.6 billion, a 1.2% margin, in 2003. Net income in 2004 likewise nearly tripled to $310.5 million from $105.8 million in 2003. The health plan credited lower-than-anticipated healthcare costs across the health insurance industry for the positive results. Healthcare claims costs increased by about 13%, compared with about 17% in 2003, because of more moderate cost increases in prescription drugs and hospital inpatient services, Highmark said. As a result, premium increases for the health plan have moderated as well, lessening in 2004 from 2003. The plan's surplus grew to $2.5 billion from $2.2 billion the previous year. -- by Cinda Becker
Highmark income surges in 2004
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