Managed care provider Molina Healthcare Inc. reported strong third-quarter earnings after Tuesday's market close citing better cost controls and revenue increases in three states.

The Long Beach-based MediCal-Medicaid specialist reported net income of $12.3 million (44 cents per share) compared with $6.8 million (24 cents) a year ago. Revenue increased 21 percent to $517.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected net income of 43 cents per share on revenue of $517.6 million.

Molina reaffirmed its fiscal 2006 earnings guidance between $1.60 and $1.65 per share, though analyst expectations are higher as much as $1.67.

The company said it has reduced in medical costs at its health plans in Michigan, New Mexico and Washington, which overcame lagging profitability in California, Ohio and Indiana. The company's California health plan continues to face higher unit costs and limited premium rates, Chief Executive J. Mario Molina said in a statement.

Before the report, Molina share fell 19 cents to close at $39.08.

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