Aetna's Q1 net income swings to $1.2B without Humana merger costs

Aetna reported net income of $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2018, compared to a net loss of $381 million in the same period a year prior.

The health insurer said the year-over-year improvement reflected the elimination of costs associated with its attempt to merge with Humana and an increase in adjusted earnings.

Aetna saw total revenue remain relatively flat during the three months ended March 31 at $15.3 billion, compared to $15.2 billion in the same period of 2017. Revenue was boosted by growth in the payer's Medicare Advantage business, which added nearly 250,000 members in the first quarter of 2018.

At the same time, Aetna saw its overall medical membership decrease slightly in the first quarter of 2018 compared to Dec. 31, 2017. The insurer said the decrease reflected its decision to leave ACA exchanges and also declines in its Medicaid enrollment.

Total expenses for the insurer fell from $15.8 billion in the first quarter of 2017 to $13.9 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Aetna also saw its medical benefit ratio, or the amount it pays toward members' medical expenses, fall year over year to 80.4 percent from 82.5 percent.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said the company remains "focused on our business priorities as we plan for our projected combination with CVS Health in the second half of 2018."

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