Kaiser Permanente reported net income of a billion dollars last year, but it was down from 2004 due to big spending on construction and technology. The HMO dominates the Sacramento region, with 635,000 enrollees. Pacificare, Wellpoint and Healthnet saw a jump in their net income percentage. Blue Shield posted a small decline, in part because several Sutter hospitals were deleted from the public employees retirement system.
Analysts say the HMO’s higher premiums stayed ahead of rising costs … resulting in strong overall earnings. But more and more employers, frustrated by high premiums, are looking for ways to ease the pain.