Health and Science

Obamacare had little impact on earnings, says Aetna CEO

Aetna CEO: Obamacare's impact on earnings

The CEO of Aetna, the third-largest U.S. insurance provider, told CNBC on Thursday it is "too early to tell" if Obamacare is working—but premiums are "going up."

Aetna reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday, helped by a surge in profit from its commercial business and by adding new customers from insurance exchanges created under President Barack Obama's signature health-care law.

But Mark Bertolini said on "Closing Bell" that Obamacare actually had little impact on the company's earnings.

"We, you know, had in the first quarter 230,000 paid exchange members and quite frankly, those exchange members we recorded as a loss in the first quarter, so they were actually negative to our earnings," Bertolini said.

Aetna participates in health exchanges in 17 states across the U.S. To date, the insurer has about 600,000 people enrolled with roughly 500,000 of those customers having paid, Bertolini said. The average age has declined in the past month, but is still higher than what the company had priced for, he added.

Still, the exchanges are so varied and so complex, Bertolini said it remains to be seen just how successful Obamacare will be.

"On the exchanges, we have preliminary rates that are anywhere from low single digits to double digits and again, it's 132 different net rating areas. so each of those are effected by the amount of information we have, the number of enrollees, the demographics and every market is a little different, so it's not as easy to say what the overall market looks like."

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm.