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VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS | VENTURA COUNTY EARNINGS

WellPoint Health Exceeds Expectations for Quarter

November 07, 2000

WellPoint Health Networks Inc., one of the nation's largest health insurers, said third-quarter earnings per share rose a better-than-expected 24% as membership in its health plans continued to grow.

The Thousand Oaks-based company said it earned $89.5 million, or $1.38 a diluted share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared with $76.2 million or $1.11 a share a year earlier.

Premium revenue rose nearly 30% to about $2.2 billion in the third quarter, from $1.7 billion in the prior year.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn $1.30 a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

WellPoint said membership in its medical plans rose to 7.7 million at the end of the third quarter, from 7.2 million a year earlier.

The company attributed the rise to continued growth in its core California market, its acquisition earlier this year of Chicago-based Rush Prudential Health Plans and growth in its individual and small-group plans outside of California.

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