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Five biggest insurers post positive first quarter reports

Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth adjusting to post-reform market

The five biggest insurers in the country are heading into a more stable future after their first quarter earnings reports show that they all are in good financial health in the post-reform market.

Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth now understand the Affordable Care Act's impact on the market, benefit from smaller Medicare Advantage cuts than expected and see overall business growth--all of which helps boost insurers' confidence, according to The New York Times.

Here's a sampling of the major insurers' first quarter earnings reports:

  • Aetna reported that it made $777 million in net profit and $15.09 billion in revenue, an 8 percent increase from last year. That growth, the insurer said, was mostly attributable to better-than-expected profits from its Medicare Advantage plans and low spending on medical claims.
  • Athem saw a 4.3 percent increase in enrollment (reaching about 38.5 total million members), particularly from its Medicaid plans' 25 percent jump in enrollment to 5.6 million people in the first quarter, the insurer said in its earnings report. Combined with a 3.4 percent growth in its Medicare Advantage plans, Anthem achieved a better-than-expected first quarter profit of about $865 million. The second-largest insurer's revenue also rose about 7 percent to almost $19 billion.
  • Cigna's revenues reached $9.5 billion, an increase of 11 percent from the same time last year, which reflected a growth in premiums and fees. The insurer reported that its results show the company is growing its revenue and specialty contributions, while continuing to effectively manage medical costs.
  • Humana said its revenue rose 18 percent to $13.8 billion, but its earning report noted there was an unexpected increase in hospital admissions in March and April. And the insurer forecast a more dismal outlook than its competitors for its individual business, saying those members have required more care than it anticipated.
  • UnitedHealth posted revenue of $36 billion and net income of $1.41 billion in the first quarter, amounting a 13 percent year-over-year growth. The nation's largest insurer also added 1.6 million members in the past year, according to its earnings report. UnitedHealth's overall financial growth was primarily generated by its Optum business, which recently expanded its membership by 35 million people by purchasing Catamaran.

To learn more:
- read The New York Times article
- read the Cigna earnings report
- see the Anthem report
- check out Humana's earnings report
- read the UnitedHealth report
- see Aetna's earnings report

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