Health insurer WellPoint hikes 2014 forecast a third time after beating Street 3Q expectations

Lifestyle and BudgetAssociated Press

WellPoint is raising its 2014 earnings forecast again after trumping analyst expectations for the third quarter as health insurers continue to ease fears that the nation's health care overhaul would hamstring the industry.

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer now expects 2014 adjusted earnings to range between $8.75 and $8.85 per share. That's up from a forecast it made in July for earnings of more than $8.60 per share, and it marks the third time this year that WellPoint has raised its outlook.

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FactSet says analysts expect $8.74 per share.

WellPoint Inc. also posted adjusted earnings of $2.36 per share in the third quarter Wednesday.

Zacks Investment Research says analysts predicted $2.28 per share.

WellPoint competitors Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. also topped expectations and raised their annual forecasts.