WellPoint profits drop 8% as enrollment falls, expenses rise

WellPoint's first-quarter profit fell almost 8 percent amid dropping enrollment and rising expenses.

The insurer reported a net income of $856.5 million, or $2.53 per share, a 7.6 percent decrease from $926.6 million, or $2.44 per share, that it reported for last year's first quarter. WellPoint's enrollment decreased 1.5 percent, or 600,000 members, to almost 34 million members. WellPoint said it expects to lose another 100,000 members throughout the year, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

However, first-quarter revenue increased 3.5 percent to $15.4 billion, primarily because it acquired Medicare specialist CareMore and raised premium rates, according to The Wall Street Journal. Although WellPoint's commercial business revenue slipped 0.7 percent to $8.51 billion, its consumer business revenue rose 12 percent to $4.75 billion, reported The Wall Street Journal.

WellPoint's benefit expenses also rose 4.8 percent to $11.77 billion in the first quarter, largely because of the high price for care, reported the Associated Press.

"Our first quarter results exceeded our expectations and were driven by improved performance in the senior business and continued strong operating results in our commercial segment. We also executed well in the capital management areas of our company," WellPoint CEO Angela Braly said.

To learn more:
- read the Associated Press article
- check out the Wall Street Journal article (subscription required)
- read the Indianapolis Business Journal article