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Aetna boosts profit on higher membership


Aetna Inc. posted strong first-quarter 2015 earnings, driven largely by increased enrollment, the health insurer said.

Aetna’s net income of $777.5 million was a 16.5% increase from the year-ago period.

“Aetna had a strong start to the year, growing medical membership, operating earnings and operating revenues to record levels in the first quarter of 2015,” Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, said Monday in a statement. “This performance speaks to Aetna’s focus on operating fundamentals and the continued execution of our growth strategy.”

First-quarter results were bolstered by an increase in medical membership, higher underwriting margins and increased health care premium yields, Aetna said.

Medical membership increased by 122,000 members during the first quarter, bringing Aetna’s total to 23.7 million.

The insurer also reported that it has grown its public exchange membership to more than 950,000 following a “highly successful open enrollment period,” Mr. Bertolini said during conference call Monday.

Mr. Bertolini said 90% of the members added through the public exchange receive a subsidy from the federal government.

Mr. Bertolini cited the increase in federal funding for Medicare in 2016, Aetna’s Medicaid franchise, and opportunities presented by public exchanges as key components of its growth strategy moving forward.

Aetna reported revenue of $15.10 billion for the quarter, an increase of 7.9% from the prior year.

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