MANAGED CARE June 1999. ©1999 Stezzi Communications
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NEWS AND COMMENTARY

Kaiser, Oxford See Quarterly Gains; 1st Since 1997

The next time Kaiser Permanente comes to CalPERS with its hat in its hand, it may have to be very persuasive. Kaiser's HMO turned a $56 million first-quarter profit -- its first quarter in the black in two years. Kaiser's turnaround -- it lost $881 million in 1997 and '98 -- is due to premium hikes and fewer referrals to non-Kaiser hospitals.

Also on the comeback trail: Oxford Health Plans, which eked out a $3.2 million after-tax, first-quarter profit -- its first since 1997. Oxford CEO Norman Payson, M.D., said Oxford would drop a point-of-service plan in New York and drop some Medicare markets next year to boost its yield.

On the for-profit side, Aetna U.S. Healthcare's after-tax quarterly profit was $116 million, up $24 million, while PacifiCare made $74 million, a $33 million gain. United HealthCare cleared $132 million -- news no doubt felt in Louisville, where Humana blamed part of its $16 million loss on its failed merger with United.

Last year was ugly for some not-for-profits, including Harris Methodist Health Plan, which lost $99 million. And after announcing that it bled $54 million, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care showed CEO Allan Greenberg and his CFO the door.