Aetna Boosts 2013 Forecast

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Aetna says its first-quarter net income fell 4 percent as acquisition-related costs and rising health care expenses countered government business gains.

But its earnings still topped expectations. The health insurer also is raising its 2013 forecast.

The Hartford, Conn., company earned $490.1 million, or $1.48 per share, in the three months that ended March 31. That’s down from $511 million, or $1.43 per share, in last year’s quarter.

Adjusted earnings totaled $1.50 per share. That trumped analyst expectations for $1.38 per share.

Operating revenue climbed 7 percent to $9.51 billion, short of analyst expectations for $9.56 billion.

Aetna says it now expects 2013 earnings to range between $5.50 and $5.60 per share, up from its previous forecast for at least $5.40. Analysts expected $5.53 per share.

Aetna Inc. is the third-largest commercial health insurer based on enrollment.

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