(Bloomberg) -- Aetna Inc., the third-largest U.S. health insurer, raised its profit forecast for the year and reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates on an increased number of customers and cost savings from a merger.

Net income for the quarter rose 2 percent to $548.8 million, or $1.52 a share, from $536 million, or $1.49 a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. Earnings excluding one-time items totaled $1.69 a share, beating the average estimate from 20 analysts of $1.60.

For the year, earnings will be $6.45 to $6.60 a share, the company said, up from a previous forecast of $6.35 to $6.55.

Medical membership totaled 23.1 million in the quarter, up by 385,000 from the first quarter, the Hartford, Connecticut- based company said. The acquisition of Coventry Health Care Inc. last year will add more to earnings this year than previously forecast, the company said. Revenue rose 25 percent to $14.5 billion.

Aetna rose 1.7 percent to $84.82 at the close yesterday in New York. The stock has gained 34 percent in the past year through yesterday.

 

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