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Aetna profits jump 53 percent in third quarter Posted: November 5th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Despite a decrease in membership, Aetna recently announced its 2010 third quarter profits were up 53 percent from 2009. The health insurance company had third quarter earnings of $497.6 million compared to $326.2 million during the same period a year ago. The 2010 profit represents a $1.19 profit per share.

In a statement, Aetna CEO and Chairman Ronald A. Williams pointed to a weak 2009 as part of the reason for the significant profit increase in 2010. "Our strong operating results were driven by a reduction in utilization of health care services after the surge we saw in 2009, combined with appropriate pricing and effective medical quality and cost management."

The increased profits come at a time when the health insurance company is experiencing declining enrollment and revenues. Enrollment in commercial group insurance plans dropped off slightly as total third quarter revenues dipped from $8.72 billion in 2009 to $8.54 in 2010. Still, the company estimates that its full-year 2010 profits will be $3.60 per share.

Aetna is the third largest insurance company in the United States, based upon enrollment. In addition to health insurance, the company also offers dental, pharmacy and short term disability insurance.