WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP) reported Wednesday its fourth quarter results, with a net income of $464.2 million, or $1.51 per share, against the net income of $335.3 million, or $0.96 per share for the same quarter last year. Last year figures included net investment losses of$0.03 per share.

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WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP)’s earnings for the quarter include $0.48 per share of net income attributed to a favorable income tax settlement and net investment gains, partly offset by costs related to the acquisition. Excluding some of the items (noted in each period) net income stood at $1.03 per share, which is an increase of 4.0 percent over the adjusted net income of $0.99 per share in the last quarter.

“Our fourth quarter results were stronger than originally expected, reflecting improved operating performance, solid expense management and improving execution in our core operations,” said John Cannon, interim president and chief executive officer of WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP). “We are encouraged by this strong performance, and believe it positions us well for a solid 2013. We are optimistic about our company’s long-term positioning and believe the alignment of our core businesses, leadership and 2013 investments prepare us well for the emerging opportunities in health care.”

For the year 2012, net income reported stood at $2.7 billion, or $8.18 per share, which includes $0.62 per share of net income related to certain items.  Last year WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP)’s net income was about $2.6 billion, or $7.25 per share, including net investment gains of $0.25 per share. Adjusted net income for 2012, excluding the items noted in each period, was $7.56 per share, which is an increase of 8.0 percent over 2011.

“Our fourth quarter results reflected lower than anticipated Commercial medical costs and stability in our membership base. Our results were supported by the strength of our operating cash flow and year-end balance sheet metrics,” said Wayne DeVeydt, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We are encouraged by the performance of our associates and the business in the last six months, but we also want to retain an appropriately prudent stance in our outlook, in light of what we expect to be a fluid and dynamic market over the next 18 to 24 months. This is reflected in our initial expectation for 2013 EPS of at least $7.60.”

Operating cash flow for the fourth quarter amounted to $759.8 million, or 1.6 times of net income while, for the full year, it exceeded $2.7 billion and was 1.0 times of net income.  During the quarter, the company repurchased 11.0 million shares of its common stock for $668.0 million, for the full year the figure stood at 39.7 million shares for $2.5 billion.  Till 31st December 2012, 1.8 billion of Board-approved share repurchase was still remaining. For the fourth quarter, company paid a dividend of $0.2875 per share, representing an amount of $87.1 million. For 2012, cash dividend payments totaled $367.1 million.

For 2013, WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP) expects a net income of at least $7.60 per share, including integration costs related to the Amerigroup acquisition. Operating revenue and Operating cash flow for 2013 is expected to be around $71.5 to $73.0 billion and $2.6 billion.