Aetna reported its first-quarter earnings Thursday morning and they were better than analysts estimated. The company's leadership, on the other hand, wasn't surprised.
"Strong earnings, membership, was where we expected it to be. We had strong growth on the public exchanges and we raised guidance for the year, so I think it was all and all a very solid quarter," Mark Bertolini, the company's Chairman and CEO, said on a CNBC exclusive.
The company is still determined to complete its acquisition of competitor Humana by the second half of the year.
Bertolini also commented on the future of the health care industry and what changes he'd like to see made to Obamacare before he can support it.
"We need a broader population to join," he said. "We need younger people to join, we need more of the uninsured to join, we need a different set of products, more rating flexibility, a broader range of rates for people to buy from and more markets that we have strong lower-cost control in so that we can offer those products on an affordable basis."
In addition, he referred to these concessions as "legislative changes" that the company isn't likely to see under the current government administration.
"What we need is a president that will work with Congress and a Congress that will work with the president," he said. "And both candidates are going to have to make promises about changes to Obamacare."
When asked about the issue of raising drug prices, Bertolini said that people are now seeing a close link between the cost of drugs and the cost of premiums with plans that require them to pay out of pocket.
"This is a problem that we've been dealing with for a long time," he said. "And now it's coming to the light of day."