Insurer Humana tops 2Q profit forecasts, hikes 2017 guidance

Humana beat second-quarter earnings expectations and raised its 2017 forecast as the health insurer improved its individual coverage and privately run versions of the government's Medicare program for people who are over age 65 or disabled.

The Louisville, Kentucky, insurer now expects full-year adjusted earnings to total about $11.50 per share. That's up from its previous forecast for earnings of at least $11.10 per share.

Analysts forecast, on average, earnings of $11.14 per share, according to FactSet.

Humana covers about 3.3 million people through Medicare Advantage and is one of the biggest providers of that coverage, a fast growing segment of insurance that often includes added benefits like dental care or lower costs compared to Medicare. The insurer cited earnings improvements in that business as well as individual commercial coverage for a 64 percent jump in pre-tax income in the second quarter.

Humana says its individual commercial business improved even though enrollment dropped 77 percent to 181,000 in the second quarter, compared to last year's quarter. The insurer has been pulling back from health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act and said earlier this year that it won't offer any coverage in that market next year.

Overall, Humana's net income more than doubled to $650 million in the second quarter, while the insurer recorded $13.53 billion in revenue. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $3.49 per share.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of $3.08 per share on $13.61 billion in revenue.

Humana shares have climbed 13 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 11 percent. The stock has climbed 35 percent in the last 12 months.


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