WellPoint ( WLP) could cause some hearts to skip today. Although the giant health insurer reported strong financial results -- largely in line with Wall Street expectations -- the company also weathered an uptick in its all-important medical cost ratio, which reflects the amount of each premium dollar it spends on patient care. WellPoint blamed higher claims in government-sponsored programs for much of that rise. Still, shares fell 3% early Wednesday. During the fourth quarter, WellPoint's revenue jumped 29% to $14.3 billion -- just shy of the consensus estimate -- as the company's customer base expanded to include 34.1 million members. Net income rose 23% to $801 million, while operating profits of $1.27 a share matched Wall Street expectations exactly. Looking ahead, WellPoint expects to deliver profits of $1.25 a share in the first quarter and $5.53 a share in the coming year. Analysts have predicted a penny more from the company over both of those periods. The market could dwell on some other disappointing metrics as well. Perhaps most notably, WellPoint's fourth-quarter MCR rose to 81.1%. The company attributed the increase to growth in government accounts with high expense ratios, including both federal and state programs. The company did see its MCR drop from the previous quarter's worrisome levels but not as much as it had hoped. It is now projecting an MCR of 81.5% for the entire year.