INDIANAPOLIS ( TheStreet) -- WellPoint ( WLP) earned $548.8 million, or $1.40 a share, in the fourth quarter including net investment gains of $24.1 million, or 7 cent a share.

Excluding items, earnings in the quarter were $1.33 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of $1.23 a share.

A year earlier, WellPoint earned $2.7 billion, or $5.95 a share, which included a gain of $2.2 billion, or $4.79 a share, from the sale of NextRx, partially offset by restructuring costs. On an adjusted basis, earnings in the fourth quarter of 2009 were $1.16 a share.

WellPoint, the managed care company, said medical enrollment as of Dec. 31, 2010, exceeded 33.3 million members, a decrease of 1% from a year earlier.

Revenue in the quarter fell 4.3% to $14.42 billion.

WellPoint said it expects earnings in 2011 of at least $6.30 a share, below analysts' expectations of $6.58 a share.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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