Aetna Revenue Rises, Misses Estimate


Health insurer Aetna raised its forecast for full-year operating earnings after membership growth in its government plans helped it report a better-than-expected profit for the third quarter.

The company, which is in the process of buying rival Humana, now expects full-year operating earnings of $7.45 to $7.55 per share, compared with its previous estimate of at least $7.40.

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The company's shares were up 1.5 percent in light premarket trading on Thursday.

Spending on medical claims as a percentage of premiums improved to 81.1 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from 82.3 percent a year earlier.

Net earnings fell to $560.1 million, or $1.59 per share, from $594.5 million, or $1.67 per share.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.90 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.77 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue rose to $14.95 billion from $14.73 billion, helped by higher premium yields.

The company reported operating revenue of $14.99 billion, below the average analyst estimate of $15.22 billion, due to membership losses in its commercial business.

Aetna's results come after UnitedHealth Group disappointed investors with a modest beat two weeks ago. On Wednesday, Anthem shares fell after it said its Obamacare insurance business was being hampered by lower-than-anticipated enrollment.

(Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)