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Aetna ups '16 operating EPS guidance as Q1 operating revenue climbs 4% YOY

reportedfirst-quarter operating earnings of $810.8 million, or $2.30 per share, downfrom $844.3 million, or $2.39 per share, in the year-ago quarter, primarily dueto lower operating earnings in the company's group insurance segment as aresult of lower underwriting margins in its disability products.

TheS&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the quarter was $2.24.

GAAPnet income for the quarter came in at $726.6 million, or $2.06 per share,compared to $777.5 million, or $2.20 per share, in the 2015 first quarter. Netincome for the most recent quarter includes 24 cents per share of net charges.

Operatingrevenue grew 4% year over year to $15.69 billion from $15.09 billion, primarilydue to higher health care premium yields and membership growth in thegovernment business, partially offset by membership declines in groupcommercial insured products.

Thetotal medical benefit ratio for the quarter was 80.5%, versus 79.1% in theyear-ago quarter.

Totalmedical membership at March 31 stood at 23.0 million, compared to 23.5 millionat Dec. 31, 2015, and 23.7 million at March 31, 2015.

Aetnaincreased its full-year 2016 operating earnings per share projection to a rangeof $7.90 to $8.10, compared to expectations, as of March 15, of .