Wellcare forecasts full-year results below estimates

Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:58am EST

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Wellcare Health Plans Inc's fourth-quarter results edged past analysts' estimates as more people signed up for its health plans, but the managed-care services provider forecast full-year results below analysts' expectations.

Wellcare said it expects adjusted net income for this year to be between $4.50 per share and $4.85 per share on premium of $8.7 billion to $8.8 billion.

This revenue forecast accounts for an expected drop of about 20 to 25 percent in Wellcare's Medicare Prescription Drug Plan - a coverage plan it launched for 2013 to offer members relatively low out-of-pocket costs.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $4.97 per share on revenue of $8.45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Wellcare's net income fell to $48.8 million, or $1.11 per share, in the quarter ending December from $85.1 million, or $1.96 per diluted share, a year earlier. Premium revenue jumped 24 percent to $2 billion.

On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.32 per share.

Analysts expected fourth-quarter earnings of $1.31 per share on revenue of $1.89 billion.

Membership in the company's health plans rose 4 percent to 2.7 million at the end of December.