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HEALTH

Bloomberg News

* WellPoint Health Networks Inc. said it will sell its money-losing workers’ compensation unit and write off an investment in bankrupt FPA Medical Management Inc., taking charges of $108.6 million that resulted in a second-quarter loss. Woodland Hills-based WellPoint said it will sell Unicare Specialty Services Inc. to Fremont General Corp., an insurer and financial services company based in Santa Monica, for about $100 million. WellPoint, California’s second-largest health insurer, follows rival California managed-care companies Foundation Health Systems Inc. and PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., which announced their exit from workers’ compensation over the last few months. The three got into the business in a bid to offer one-stop shopping to employers who purchase insurance, but ended up having trouble making money. In New York Stock Exchange trading, WellPoint’s shares plunged $7.63 to close at $64; Fremont shares rose $1.13 to $57.44. WellPoint also said second-quarter profit before charges rose 16% to $61.7 million, or 86 cents a diluted share, from $53.4 million, or 76 cents, a year earlier. Analysts had forecast profit of 85 cents a share. Fremont also reported second-quarter earnings, posting a profit of $32.6 million, or 93 cents a diluted share, compared with $24.9 million, or 75 cents, a year ago.


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