News and Commentary

Publicly-Held HMOs' Earnings Up in 4th Quarter

Adjusted fourth-quarter 1998 earnings for publicly-held HMOs were up 21.1 percent from the same period in 1997, according to a study by HealthCare Markets Group. The figure excludes Oxford Health Plans, whose legendary dismal performance in the last quarter of '97 skews year-to-year comparisons.

Among the big winners in 1998: PacifiCare, with adjusted earnings up 94 percent, and UnitedHealth Group (formerly United HealthCare), whose adjusted earnings during 1998 were up 17 percent. Managed care stocks, meanwhile, fell 5.5 percent as a whole during the first quarter of this year.

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