July 27, 2011 / 10:19 AM / 7 years ago

WellPoint lifts full-year forecast as profit beats

NEW YORK (Reuters) - WellPoint Inc WLP.N posted a second-quarter profit slightly ahead of Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, helped by administrative cost savings, and the health insurer raised its full-year forecast.

Second-quarter net income was $701.6 million, or $1.89 per share, compared with $722.4 million, or $1.71 per share, a year earlier, when the company had more shares outstanding.

Excluding items, earnings of $1.83 per share were 3 cents ahead of the analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

WellPoint, which has been trying to increase its presence in Medicare plans for seniors, said medical costs in the business had been significantly higher than expected this year and it would change its strategy for Medicare Advantage plans for next year.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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