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WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and lifted its earnings forecast for the year.

The Indianapolis, Indiana-based company posted a quarterly profit of $630.9 million, versus a year-ago profit of $656.2 million. Its EPS rose 2.8% to $2.22 versus $2.16. On an adjusted basis, WellPoint earned $2.36 per share, versus $2.10 per share.

Its total revenue climbed to $18.56 billion from $17.86 billion. However, analysts were projecting earnings of $2.26 per share on revenue of $18.72 billion.

Operating gain in the Commercial & Specialty Business segment rose 28.7% to $915.7 million, while operating gain in the Government Business segment dropped 3.6% to $283.9 million in the quarter.

At the end of the quarter, WellPoint had 37.5 million members, versus 35.5 million members at September 30, 2013.

WellPoint's board declared a Q4 dividend of $0.4375 per share.

During the quarter, WellPoint repurchased around 5.1 million shares of its common stock for $579 million.

"I am encouraged by the strength of our third quarter results and believe we are making the needed investments to support improvements in healthcare affordability and access for all of our customers, across both our Commercial and Government segments. The substantial groundwork we have laid positions us well to capitalize on market opportunities in the future and to serve a growing number of members and their families,” said Joseph Swedish, president and chief executive officer.

For the full year, the company projects adjusted earnings of $8.75 to $8.85 per share, versus analysts' estimates of $8.74 per share. It now projects medical enrollment to rise by 1.55 to 1.65 million members.

WellPoint shares fell 0.28% to close at $120.00 yesterday.

Posted-In: profitEarnings News


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