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Earnings

July 31, 1996

WellPoint Health Networks, the parent company of California Blue Cross, reported lower second-quarter earnings but said they weren't due to high medical costs, which are plaguing other HMOs.

The Woodland Hills-based company blamed the decline on short-term factors related to Blue Cross' recent conversion to a for-profit corporation.

WellPoint said profit fell 10% to $49.8 million, or 59 cents per share, compared with $55.4 million, or 56 cents, in the same period last year, when the company had more shares outstanding.

The earnings exceeded analysts' consensus average estimate of 57 cents a share.

Membership in WellPoint medical plans grew 50% compared with last year, to 4.2 million, the company said. Part of that was because of its acquisition of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

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