Despite positive Q2 results, Aetna halts plans to participate in more ACA exchanges

While Aetna boosted its operating income 8 percent in the second quarter to $783 million, the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer is withdrawing plans to expand its offerings on the 2017 Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

Aetna previously filed documents with regulators indicating plans to expand into five new state exchanges in 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. The payer is also analyzing whether it will continue to participate in the exchanges for 15 states.

Aetna attributed the gains in operating income to higher fees and revenues from health plans and lower administrative expenses.

Aetna's total revenue grew 5 percent to $15.95 billion in the second quarter. The growth reflects heightened revenue from healthcare premiums and growing membership in its government business, which was partially offset by commercial membership declines, according to the report.

Overall  membership stayed flat at 23 million in the second quarter.

In addition, Aetna's net income per share in the second quarter of 2016 was $2.23, up from $2.08 in second quarter of 2015. The insurer projects its 2016 full-year net income per share will be $6.28 to $6.48.

"While we are pleased with our overall results, in light of updated 2016 projections for our individual products and the significant structural challenges facing the public exchanges, we intend to withdraw all of our 2017 public exchange expansion plans, and are undertaking a complete evaluation of future participation in our current 15-state footprint," Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in the second quarter statement.

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