Humana's Costs Rise, but Earnings Beat Estimate

health care
health care

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning. For the quarter, the health care company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.19 on revenues of $9.56 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.20 on revenues of $9.06 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.07 and $9.73 billion in revenues.

For the full year, the company posted adjusted EPS of $7.47 on revenues of $39.13 billion, compared with EPS of $8.46 on revenues of $36.83 billion in 2011. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $7.49 on revenues of $39.18 billion.

Humana's CEO said:

For 2013, we will continue to enhance our integrated care delivery model, which we believe represents the future of health care delivery, as we forecast another year of growth in revenues, earnings and Medicare membership.

Humana reaffirmed its earlier 2013 guidance calling for EPS of $7.60 to $7.80 on revenues of $41 to $41.5 billion. The company expects enrollments in its retail Medicare Advantage programs to rise by 100,000 to 120,000, considerably lower than the increase of 287,300 posted in 2012. Prescription drug plan enrollments grew 18% (more than 445,000) in 2012 to 2.986 million. Humana forecasts subscriber growth of 135,000 to 175,000 in 2013.

The company's medical cost ratio (i.e., the percentage of premium revenues it pays out in benefits) rose from 81.8% in 2011 to 83.7% in 2012. Combined with slower growth in subscriber numbers, this adds up to a cautious outlook for Humana this year.

Humana's shares are inactive in premarket trading, having closed at $75.35 on Friday in a 52-week range of $59.92 to $93.36. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $82.10 before today's report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Healthcare Tagged: HUM