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.