Daily Archives: February 6, 2007

Humana (3): Rate Hike = Profit Hike

Humana, Inc, the giant health insurance company that recently announced a rate hike of 130% in Massachusets alone, just released its fourth quarter numbers. Their earnings doubled.

Health insurer Humana Inc. said Monday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled on the strength of its burgeoning Medicare business, capping a record year in revenue, profit and medical membership. Buoyed by the momentum, the company raised its earnings projections for 2007.

The Louisville-based company said revenue from its Medicare Advantage plans — which offer comprehensive health care coverage — nearly doubled in the quarter over the previous year. Its stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans generated another $882 million in new fourth-quarter revenue.

For the three months ended last Dec. 31, Humana posted net income of $155 million, or 92 cents per share, compared to nearly $61.8 million, or 37 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had projected 88 cents for the just-ended quarter.

Humana President and Chief Executive Michael B. McCallister said the strong growth positioned Humana for “further progress” in 2007. The company raised its earnings-per-share projection for 2007 to between $4 and $4.20, up from its previous estimate of $3.90 to $4.10.

Interesting. They doubled their customers’ rates and doubled their earnings. That’s kind of a direct ratio, isn’t it? Meaning the price rise in customer premiums went straight to their profit column, do not pass go and for god’s sake don’t hand in a claim.

Explain to me again why for-profit health insurance is better than not-for-profit? For people other than investors, I mean.