WellPoint, Indianapolis, more than doubled its second-quarter profit thanks to the effects of its $16.4 billion merger and strong membership gains. The nation's largest health insurer, WellPoint was created in November 2004, when Anthem acquired larger rival WellPoint Health Networks. For the three months ended June 30, the insurer earned net income of $559.4 million, or 90 cents per share, compared with $237.9 million, or 83 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. The most recent results include a previously announced charge of 10 cents per share to settle the company's involvement in an industrywide class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of physicians. Operating revenue rose 146% to $11.1 billion, and enrollment climbed 129% to 28.8 million members. The 2004 numbers reflect Anthem only.
On a comparable basis -- including the 2004 results of both companies -- second-quarter operating revenue rose 8% and enrollment rose 6%. The company did not provide comparable income for the quarter. WellPoint raised its 2005 earnings outlook to $3.97 per share from $3.93 per share but lowered its full-year operating revenue estimate to $44.6 billion from $45.1 billion. For the six months ended June 30, WellPoint earned $1.17 billion, or $1.88 per share, up 120% from $533.5 million, or $1.87 cents per share (before a stock split), in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 144% to $22.4 billion. The 2004 numbers are for Anthem only. The company did not release comparable figures for the six-month period. -- by Laura B. Benko