Humana Reports Earnings Decline, Citing Tough Comparisons

Humana said that first-quarter profit fell nearly 15% as the health insurer faced tough comparisons with the year-earlier period, when it booked a gain from the sale of a venture capital investment.

Humana, one of the largest providers of health plans under the U.S. government's Medicare program for the elderly, also raised its profit outlook for the year.

Quarterly net income fell to $71.2 million, or 42 cents a share, from $83.7 million, or 50 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected profit of 40 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The year-ago results included a benefit of 19 cents a share from the sale of the venture capital investment.

Consolidated revenue rose 32% to $6.2 billion, helped by higher average Medicare membership.

Medicare Advantage membership grew by 50% to 1.11 million at March 31 from a year earlier. Membership in the company's stand-alone prescription drug plans rose to 3.47 million from 1.96 million.

Humana forecast medical membership in Medicare Advantage at 1.15 million to 1.18 million at the end of the year, with Medicare stand-alone prescription drug plans at about 3.5 million.

Human forecast earnings a share of $1.15 to $1.20 for the second quarter. Analysts on average are expecting $1.04.

For the full year, the company said it now expected profit of $4.10 to $4.25 per share. The analysts' average estimate is $4.08.