Insurance giant Molina Health Care Inc. reported a 39 percent boost in earnings to $107 million in its first quarter after suffering hundreds of millions in losses during 2017.

The Long Beach company on April 30 reported earning $107 million ($1.64 a share) in the three months ended March 31, compared to $77 million ($1.37 per share), during the same period last year. Revenue didn't fare as well, and dropped to $4.7 million from $4.9 million.

“These results are a significant improvement over 2017 and are favorable to our expectation,” Joseph Zubretsky, chief executive for Molina, told analysts during a morning earnings call.

Shares in Molina Health Care fell 1.5 percent to around $83.60 after morning trading. Its stock price was nearly 44 percent higher than its August 2017 low of $58.

The Fortune 500 firm has been in the midst of a wholesale makeover, after hiring a new chief executive late last year to turn around an insurance company beset by lower enrollments, higher costs, and 1,400 employee layoffs.

On Feb. 12, it reported a net loss of $512 million in 2017, compared with $52 million in net earnings the year before.

Molina Health Care, which develops health plans for needy residents on Medicare and Medicaid, has cut back its individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act, while raising prices 60 percent on its ACA plans.

It reported Monday that its first-quarter medical care ratio – or insurance loss ratio that measures medical cost as a fraction of premium revenue – had declined from 88.4 to 86.1 percent.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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