WellPoint reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $148.2 million, or 87 cents per share, excluding certain items, topping analysts' estimates. The company's operating revenue of $17.65 billion was below expectations. WellPoint reiterated its forecast for full-year 2014 earnings of at least $8.00 a share.
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Despite the botched start to the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, executives said the volume of applications for private plans on the exchanges is tracking higher than they had anticipated, and the demographic mix is in line with their expectations.
"We anticipated that the average age of exchange customers would generally be older," Swedish said, "and our pricing assumptions for both on and off exchange products reflected this view."
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As the nation's largest provider of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, WellPoint has long been the leading insurer in the individual health-plan market, and its experience may have given it an advantage with exchange plans.
While its exchange plan pricing for 2014 is 20 percent to 30 percent higher than its competitors, in markets like New York and California, WellPoint's subsidiaries garnered the top market share.