Health Insurance Companies Report Higher Than Expected Profits for 3Q Under the ACA - The Minute

Oct 30, 2014 4:00 PM ET
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Health insurers are reporting third quarter results, and the numbers are attracting a lot of scrutiny from investors since they represent three-quarters of the first full year of changes under the Affordable Care Act. The figures are attracting even more attention because health insurance companies are recording higher than projected profits.

UnitedHealth’s net earnings per share for the quarter totaled $1.63 cents, above analysts' expectations of $1.53. UnitedHealth explained that lower-than-expected costs helped drive the higher profit.  The company reaffirmed its commitment to enter the exchange market next year by joining two dozen exchanges established by the ACA. Net profits of between three and five percent are projected. Aetna’s profits also exceeded Wall Street expectations in the third quarter. The company's earnings-per-share were $1.79, well ahead of the estimate of $1.58. Aetna, which sold products through 17 ACA exchanges, noted enrollment growth and higher margins on its government business as reasons for the earnings boost. And WellPoint’s adjusted earnings per share reached $2.36, well above analysts’ projections. Medicaid was the growth driver for WellPoint, which added more than 750,000 low-income beneficiaries to the insurer's rolls. Looks like there are plenty of profits to be had in the newly transformed health insurance sector.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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