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WellCare stock jumps on strong earnings, membership growth

Shares in WellCare Health Plans jumped more than 5 percent in early trading Tuesday after the Tampa-based managed-care provider more than doubled its first-quarter profit from a year ago.

After the morning surge, WellCare stock eased to close at $67.57 a share, but was still up $1.61, or more than 2 percent.

WellCare beat analysts' expectations in posting first-quarter earnings of $44.1 million, or $1 a share, up 105 percent from $21.5 million, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, earnings rose to $1.13 a share, up from 63 cents a share.

Revenue grew 32 percent to $2.99 billion.

The results were spurred by a notable increase in membership. The company's enrollment in Medicaid plans was up 11 percent, Medicare enrollment was up 52 percent and Medicare prescription drug plan enrollment was up 31 percent.

Altogether, membership had reached 3.5 million as of March 31, up 31 percent from the year-ago period.

Looking ahead, interim CEO David Gallitano and his team projected higher-than-expected revenue and income for the full year.

WellCare stock jumps on strong earnings, membership growth 05/06/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 7:18pm]
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