Everything isn't well at WellPoint (NYSE:WLP). The company crushed earnings estimates for the third quarter, but it's hard for investors to get too excited. The economy may have recovered a little, but jobs are still hard to come by, and that's putting pressure on the health insurer's revenue.

And of course there's that whole government-sponsored public plan that's hanging over the insurers' heads.

Despite the earnings beat, it still wasn't a pretty quarter for WellPoint. Revenue was down slightly because of unemployment, and the flu and COBRA coverage for workers who lost their jobs cut into earnings. As part of the stimulus package from earlier this year, the government offered to pony up to help the unemployed pay for COBRA coverage. While it's added revenue for insurance companies, it comes at a price because people who go on COBRA tend to be those who need it the most and therefore rack up higher medical bills.

As with UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), which reported last week, it doesn't look like 2010 is going to be much of a turnaround year for WellPoint. In addition to the lost revenue from the unemployed, COBRA could continue to bite at earnings because Congress may extend the subsidy through the middle of next year and lengthen the time unemployed people could get the subsidized benefits from nine to 15 months.

WellPoint, Humana (NYSE:HUM), Aetna (NYSE:AET), CIGNA (NYSE:CI), and the rest of the industry are sitting at rock-bottom prices, but that doesn't necessarily make them a bargain. In the best-case scenario, health-care reform doesn't hurt the industry too much and the insurers get a nice bump as the uncertainty goes away. Even under that scenario, it looks like it'll be a long turnaround for them.

UnitedHealth is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. UnitedHealth and WellPoint are Inside Value picks. The Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.