Oxford Health Profit Jumps

The health care plan provider also raises its forecast for 2004 earnings.
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Oxford Health Plans

(OHP)

Wednesday reported a sharp increase in fourth-quarter profit, thanks to an increase in premium revenue.

The Connecticut-based company earned $95.5 million, or $1.14 a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $73.8 million, or 84 cents a share, a year ago. The consensus estimate of analysts was $1.07 a share, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue rose to $1.37 billion from $1.3 billion a year ago. Premium revenue increased 7.1% in the quarter to $1.35 billion, but the number of plan members declined slightly to 1.43 million from 1.48 million a year ago.

Oxford also raised its forecast for 2004 earnings to $4.35 to $4.55 a share, slightly above its previous forecast of $4.30 to $4.50 a share. The consensus estimate is for $4.45 a share.

For full-year 2003, the company had a profit of $351.9 million, or $4.15 a share, up from $222 million, or $2.45 a share, in 2002.

Cash flow from operations more than doubled to $223.6 million in the fourth quarter.