Aetna (NYSE:AET) announced on Tuesday that it earned $457.6 million during the second quarter, down 15% from a $536.7 million profit in the same period last year.
Revenue for the quarter increased to $8.83 billion, compared to $8.32 billion in 2011. Adjusted EPS was $1.31, which topped the $1.25 that Wall Street had forecast, Reuters noted.
Shares of Aetna rose fractionally in Tuesday morning trading.
The country’s third-largest health insurance provider raised its earnings guidance for 2012. It now estimates full-year profits of between $5 and $5.10 a share, up from an earlier forecast of $5 a share.
Analysts cited by Reuters attributed Aetna’s forecast-beating earnings to increased margins at its insurance underwriting business and especially among Medicare patients. Aetna also has fewer shares outstanding due to recent share repurchases.
Earlier this month, rival UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) also reported second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates.
Aetna is part of InvestorPlace‘s Real America Index, a list of companies — one from each state — whose performance provides a window on the health of the U.S. economy. Aetna represents the state of Connecticut in the index.