WellPoint, Aetna 3Q profits drop

Despite rising enrollments and revenues, WellPoint's third quarter profits dipped, primarily due to lower investment income and higher expenses related to its purchase of CareMore.

The country's largest insurer by enrollment earned $683.2 million in the third quarter, down 7.6 percent from the $739.1 million it earned last year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

However, WellPoint's third quarter revenue rose 5.7 percent to $15.4 billion, up from $14.6 billion at the same time last year. And its third quarter enrollment grew 2.6 percent to 34.4 million as it added about 169,000 members in the quarter, the majority of which came from small and midsize businesses, Bloomberg reports.

WellPoint CEO Angela Braly said the company is looking to make more acquisitions in the senior market and expand its network of CareMore clinics, adding 12 more facilities next year, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. "The senior business is where we're looking to make investment, growing it both organically and through acquisition," she said.

Meanwhile, Aetna also reported a drop in profits, which slipped to $490.4 million, down from $497.6 million a year earlier, reports the Wall Street Journal. Its revenue edged down 0.7 percent to $8.48 billion, and membership fell 1.6 percent to 18.23 million as its employer-based health plan membership declined, according to Reuters. Although enrollment declined by 11,000, that was an improvement compared with Aetna's average drop of 112,000 over the previous six quarters, Bloomberg notes.

Good news for Aetna came from its total medical-loss ratio, which fell to 78.9 percent, dowm from 81.8 percent a year earlier and 79.7 percent in the second quarter.

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- see the Reuters article
- check out the Los Angeles Times article
- read the Bloomberg articles on WellPoint and Aetna
- see the Indianapolis Business Journal article