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Health Net

Health insurer tops expectations

November 04, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Regional health insurer Health Net Inc. reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations, helped by strong sales in the Western U.S. and lower administrative costs.

The Los Angeles company posted a third-quarter net loss of $66 million, or 64 cents a share, contrasted with net income of $18.5 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier, largely because of charges related to the pending sale of its Northeast division to UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Excluding special items, Health Net reported earnings of $69.6 million, or 67 cents a share.

Analysts on average had expected earnings excluding one-time items of 61 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue rose 3.9% to about $4 billion, helped by an increase in health plan services premium revenue, as well as higher revenue from government contracts.

Total health plan enrollment fell 3.8% from a year earlier to about 3.6 million members.

Health Net narrowed its forecast range for full-year earnings excluding special items to $2.25 to $2.30 a share, taking 5 cents off the top end of its previously forecast range.

Health Net shares rose 86 cents, or 5.7%, to $16.09.

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