WellPoint looks to exchanges for membership growth

WellPoint is optimistic that problems surrounding the health insurance exchanges will soon be resolved, but the insurer refused to disclose any figures related to exchange activity when it announced its third-quarter earnings report Wednesday.

Although the nation's second-largest insurer doesn't yet know how many people have enrolled in any of its exchange plans, CEO Joseph Swedish is maintaining a hopeful outlook that the online marketplaces will help WellPoint recruit new members.

"We remain optimistic about the long-term membership growth opportunities on the exchanges, but given that we are just three weeks into the open enrollment period, it is really too early to draw any definitive conclusions," Swedish said during a call with investors to discuss its third-quarter earnings, Reuters reported.

Swedish pointed to is the increased call activity at WellPoint's sales call center during the first two weeks after the exchanges opened. It received 35,000 calls during the first week, which is double its normal volume, and 45,000 calls the second week, reported LifeHealthPro. "We believe we see a lot of interest in exchange products," Swedish said.

WellPoint reported $2.3 billion in net income, up from $2.2 billion in 2012, and $53 billion in revenue, an increase from $46 billion last year. Although it lost members in its commercial plans, WellPoint boosted membership in its government plans to end the quarter with for 35.6 million total members, an increase of more than 2 million from the year before.

To learn more:
- here's the WellPoint earnings report
- read the Reuters article
- see the LifeHealthPro article