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Insurer WellPoint's 4Q profit drops 68 percent

Boston.com / Associated Press, January 30, 2014

WellPoint's fourth-quarter earnings tumbled 68 percent, as customers of the nation's second largest health insurer raced to use their coverage last fall before it lapsed due to the health care overhaul. The Indianapolis company said Wednesday that its medical expenses spiked 18 percent to $14.58 billion due in part to higher use of individual policies in advance of overhaul-mandated changes that unfolded this year. Insurers typically see a rise in use at the end of each year as patients pay up their deductibles, or the out of pocket cost before most coverage starts, and then use their coverage before that deductible renews in the new year.