Feb 6- Aetna Inc, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, on Thursday said fourth quarter profit rose due to the acquisition of Coventry Healthcare and forecast an increase in medical customers in its private Medicare business in 2014..
Markets are in wait-and-see mode ahead of Friday's jobs report, but there are a few events Thursday that could sway the market's direction.
Feb 5- Humana Inc said on Wednesday that it received 202,000 applications for Obamacare health insurance plans, many of them from young people, but still gave a wide forecast for 2014 profit as it waits to see the demographics of future customers.
Traders await Friday's jobs report and watch emerging markets to see if the selloff can be contained.
Talking Squawk, the "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights and sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME.
WellPoint made a big bet on Obamacare and early enrollment numbers indicate it's paying off, according to executives from the nation's second-largest insurer.
Jan 29- U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc said on Wednesday the applicants for the new Obamacare health plans are of the age and demographics it had expected, indicating that medical costs will not soar beyond the prices it charges. Insurance plans under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law went on sale Oct. 1 and into effect on Jan. 1.
The company also took a charge for the recently announced sale of its contact lens business, 1-800 Contacts, to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, which caused a sharp decline in net profit. Competitor Aetna Inc is in about 16 states while UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest insurer, has only offered plans in a few states.
WellPoint, which sells Empire and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, said its costs went up as it prepared for the rollout of Obamacare and an expected increase in new members this year. Competitor Aetna Inc is in about 16 states while UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest insurer, has only offered plans in a few states.
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Aetna's CEO says Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the company could be forced to pull out of program.
Mark Bertolini, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Aetna, discusses the government's Medicare program and weighs in on enrollment participation in Obamacare. I think too much is being made of the website, we all have website failures from time to time, Bertolini says.
Some of the names on the move ahead of the open.
The "Fast Money" traders share their final trades of the day.
The White House is coming under pressure from some of its closest allies to name a CEO to run its health insurance marketplace.
New Year's Day will bring a fresh test for President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, as hundreds of thousands of Americans will begin to use the program's new medical coverage for the first time.
The Obama administration announced a new series of measures to get as many people as possible are covered Obamacare insurance by Jan. 1.
Some of Thursday's midday movers:
Officials want companies to get a bigger share of a pot of reinsurance money that will cover their costs from high-claim enrollees.
The widely believed notion in the market that Obamacare would be bad for insurance stocks has been the wrong call, said Barclays health-care analyst Joshua Raskin