Aetna to Increase Profits by Dropping Members

Through premium increases, Aetna realizes it will lose 600,000 members, but that's okay

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December 16, 2009 -- Back when it was the largest private health plan in the country, Aetna downsized its membership by millions but boosted profits during an overhaul of its business several years ago.

Now it looks to be making a similar -- but smaller -- move with a planned price increase for many of its customers in 2010.

The company figures it will lose between 600,000 and 650,000 members next year because of the price hikes.

In a conference call with investment analysts to discuss the company's third-quarter earnings, Chair and CEO Ron Williams told analysts, "The pricing we put in place for 2009 turned out to not really be what we needed to achieve the results and margins that we had historically been delivering."

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