Aetna profits climb 11%
* Aetna, Hartford, Conn., reported an 11% increase in first-quarter profits last week, after adding more than a quarter-million members, and appointed a new executive to handle its acquisition strategy. Net income for the first quarter reached $365.8 million, or $2.28 per share, up from $330 million, or $2.12 per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 8% to $4.8 billion. Enrollment climbed by 313,000 people, or 2.4%, to 13.3 million members. The company said it expects to add 600,000 to 750,000 members this year.
PacifiCare earnings fall 6%
* PacifiCare Health Systems, Cypress, Calif., reported a 6% drop in first-quarter profits last week, partly because of higher medical costs, but the company boosted its full-year earnings estimate amid continued membership growth. Net income for the quarter was $67 million, or 71 cents per share, down from $71 million, or 96 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 8% to $3 billion. Medical costs consumed 85.1% of premium revenue, up from 83.6% in the prior quarter and 84.8% in the year-ago quarter. Total enrollment rose 2% year over year to nearly 3 million members.
Humana profits double
* Humana, Louisville, Ky., said last week that its profits more than doubled for the first quarter, thanks largely to a surge in military and government business. Net income reached $67.8 million, or 41 cents per share, up from $31.2 million, or 19 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 12% to $3.3 billion, reflecting a 6% increase in total enrollment to 7 million members. However, the company said operating earnings from its commercial segment remained flat because of pricing pressure from competitors, and medical costs rose to 84.4% of premium revenue from 83.4% in the year-ago quarter because of rising expenses at a large municipal customer.