WellPoint Health Networks Inc., a Woodland Hills-based managed health care company, reported a modest increase in earnings for the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31, fueled by a 13% surge in membership of the company's health plans.
WellPoint reported net income of $52 million in the fourth quarter, up 3% from $50.6 million in the same three-month period a year earlier. Fourth-quarter sales totaled $717 million, up 14% from $629 million a year earlier.
For the year ended Dec. 31, WellPoint reported a profit of $213 million on sales of $2.79 billion, compared to a $165-million profit of $2.45 million a year earlier.
Leonard Schaeffer, chief executive of WellPoint, said the company enrolled an additional 295,000 members in 1994, bringing total membership at year-end to 2.6 million. "As competitive pressures in California intensify, we look for opportunities . . . to invest in operations outside California to . . . diversify our customer base," Schaeffer said.
WellPoint is a for-profit subsidiary of Blue Cross of California, which owns an 80% interest in WellPoint.