WellPoint Inc., the nation's second largest health insurer, is providing a more bearish than anticipated forecast for 2013 earnings, according to a Leerink Swann analyst who is lowering his expectations for growth from the insurer's established business for the new year.

THE OPINION: WellPoint Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt said at a recent conference that he expects the insurer's 2013 earnings to be stable next year, but net income could slip depending on, among other things, investments the insurer makes in its business to prepare for insurance exchanges that will start in 2014 as part of the health care overhaul.

WellPoint, which runs Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in several states, has had a turbulent summer. In early July, the Indianapolis insurer announced a $4.46 billion acquisition of fellow insurer Amerigroup. Later that month, WellPoint surprised Wall Street by cutting its 2012 forecast and reporting second-quarter earnings that fell more than 8 percent and missed expectations.

Last month, Chairwoman and CEO Angela Braly abruptly resigned, just weeks after WellPoint's board issued a statement expressing support for the company's strategy and management.

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