UPDATE 1-Health insurer Centene tops profit estimates, raises 2018 forecast

(Adds details on forecast)

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Health insurer Centene Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and raised its full-year earnings forecast due to recent changes in U.S. tax laws and growth in its Obamacare business.

Centene, which primarily focuses on government-sponsored health plans, raised its 2018 adjusted earnings forecast to $6.95-$7.35 per share from $5.47-$5.87 per share.

Analysts were expecting earnings of $6.11 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Excluding items, the company earned 97 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 93 cents.

Total revenue rose 7.5 percent to $12.81 billion, ahead of analysts' estimate of $12.54 billion.

Last month, the company said more than 1.4 million people had paid for its insurance plans via the federal Obamacare marketplace, as of Jan. 7.

Centene said net earnings attributable fell to $230 million, or $1.30 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $261 million, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)