Insurer WellPoint's 4Q profit drops 68 percent

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Associated Press

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 7:01 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — WellPoint says its fourth-quarter earnings tumbled 68 percent, as the nation's second largest health insurer booked a business sale charge and saw the amount it paid in medical claims spike.

The Indianapolis company says it earned $148.2 million, or 49 cents per share, in the quarter. That's down from $464.2 million, or $1.51 per share, in the final quarter of 2012.

Earnings excluding one-time items totaled 87 cents per share. Analysts expected 86 cents per share.

Operating revenue jumped 16 percent to $17.65 billion. That excludes investment gains or losses. Analysts expected $17.8 billion.

WellPoint Inc. says it expects 2014 earnings to be above $8 per share.

The insurer runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states.

Its shares are falling in early morning trading.

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