NU Online News Service, Nov. 4, 2003, 1:11 p.m. EST – Health Net Inc., Los Angeles, says a decrease in medical cost inflation helped it increase income from continuing operations in the third quarter.

The company is reporting a net loss of $2.4 million for the latest quarter on $2.8 billion in revenue, compared with $75 million in net income on $2.6 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2002. But the results for the latest quarter include $89 million for a settlement related to a workers’ compensation unit that Health Net sold in 1998.

Income from continuing operations, which excludes the settlement costs, increased to $87 million, from $75 million.

Health Net ended the quarter providing or administering medical coverage for 3.9 million people, about as many people as it had covered one year earlier.

Average premium revenue per insured member increased 7.3%, to $597.

About half of Health Net plan members participate in Medicaid, Medicare or the TriCare military health program. The average cost of medical care per commercial plan member increased 10.3% in the third quarter, but, because of moderation in the rate of increase for members of non-commercial plans, the overall rate of increase was only 6.6%.