Aetna earnings rise with more ACO business

Aetna's third-quarter profit increased 2 percent to $499.2 million, up from $490.4 million a year earlier, as higher premiums and lower-than-expected healthcare use helped boost revenue.

The third-largest insurer also stabilized costs by directing more of its business through its accountable care organizations, which focus on efficient, quality care, Reuters reported.

Although Aetna reported seeing "incredibly low" healthcare use in the last two years, it believes the low utilization trend will end. "We just think it's prudent in this very distressed economy to assume that utilization will continue to come back to pre-2009 levels," Aetna's Chief Financial Officer Joseph Zubretsky told the Associated Press.        

Looking forward, the company said it's interested in selling IT and other services to emerging countries to help them modernize their health systems. "Our future lies more in healthcare services and health information technology than merely just in the insurance business," Zubretsky told Bloomberg. "Job one is to help foreign governments build out the health-care infrastructure of the future."

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg article
- see the Associated Press article
- read the Reuters article