KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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WellPoint, Aetna Raise 2014 Forecasts

There is a downside for Aetna. Even as the insurer posted higher membership and revenue, its medical costs also increased. Meanwhile, HCA's third-quarter earnings rose as the hospital operator continued to experience a rebound in admissions and other positives generated by the health law.

The Wall Street Journal: WellPoint’s Profit Prompts Higher View
WellPoint Inc. on Wednesday morning became the latest health insurer to raise its outlook after posting higher-than-expected quarterly earnings. The company, which touted its growing membership base, said it now expects to post earnings of $8.75 to $8.85 a share this year, up from its prior call of more than $8.60 a share. (Calia, 10/28)

The Wall Street Journal: Rising Medical Costs Weigh On Aetna
The insurer has posted higher membership and revenue of late. But medical costs also have increased, although it has categorized that trend as moderate. New treatments for hepatitis C have been among the biggest pressures on results, along with the company’s individual book of business. (Wilde Mathews and Calia, 10/28)

The Associated Press: Aetna Tops Street In 3Q, Raises 2014 Forecast
Aetna became the latest major health insurer to thump third-quarter expectations and raise its 2014 forecast, but the company’s shares slipped Tuesday after it also said expenses climbed more than expected for part of its enrollment. The nation’s third-largest health insurer said that medical costs for some of its small-business coverage came in higher than projected, and benefit and network changes that it had made to help control those expenses hadn’t worked as expected. (10/28)

The Wall Street Journal: HCA Profit Rises 42% On Admissions Growth
HCA Holdings Inc. said its third-quarter earnings rose 42% as the hospital operator continued to benefit from a rebound in admissions and benefits from the U.S. health-care policy overhaul. The company’s board authorized the repurchase of as much as $1 billion of HCA’s shares. (Stynes, 10/28)

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