Two major health insurers posted income gains in the second quarter, with WellPoint's profits up 4% over the same quarter a year ago, and Aetna showing a 42% jump in profits in the same time period.
Aetna profits up 42%; WellPoint sees 4% gain
WellPoint, the nation's largest insurer by membership, earned $722.4 million in the three months ended June 30, compared with $693.5 million a year ago. Aetna earned $491 million in the quarter, up from $346.6 million a year ago.
Medical membership fell by 729,000 enrollees at WellPoint, with total membership of 33.5 million. The Indianapolis-based insurer also experienced a drop in profits for consumer business because of a delayed premium rate increase in California. WellPoint withdrew a controversial double-digit rate increase in April after an independent actuary found mathematical errors. The company's subsidiary, Anthem Blue Cross of California, has since resubmitted a rate increase to state regulators, with the results of an independent actuarial review expected in August.
Aetna, meanwhile, also experienced a dip in medical membership, with a total of 18.6 million members, down from 19 million a year ago. Although revenue from premiums fell 6% compared with a year ago, officials at the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer attributed the strong quarter to a higher commercial underwriting margin from a favorable prior-quarter reserve development and improved performance.
“Going forward, our focus on performance improvement will enable us to continue to make investments that help address the challenges our customers face with respect to affordability and quality of healthcare,” said Chairman and CEO Ronald Williams, in a statement.
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