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(Reuters) - Wellcare Health Plans Inc's (WCG.N) 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.
Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das