Aetna CEO: 'Too Early to Tell' How Obamacare Enrollees Will Affect Bottom Line

By Susan Jones | April 25, 2014 | 6:46 AM EDT

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( - Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said his company has picked up 500,000 paid members through the Obamacare exchanges as of April 24, and he expects that to plateau at 450,000 paid members by the end of the year, as some attrition occurs.

"Currently, there has been no positive impact from a bottom-line standpoint of these members because it's way too early to tell," he told Bloomberg TV on Thursday.

"In the first quarter we saw generally an older population sign up. So probably four or five years older than we expected on average. As we got near the end of March, we saw young people sign up, enroll. Now we're trying to find what is the age demographic of people who actually paid in the program. And so that still needs to settle out."

The Obama administration says 8 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the government-run exchanges, but it hasn't said how many have actually paid their premiums.

Aetna's Chief Financial Officer Shawn Guertin was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the company expects a "modest loss" this year from its exchange coverage, which is a small part of its overall business.

Asked if the Affordable Care Act will end up being good for business, Bertolini said it's a "good thing" to get everyone insured. "So I think this is a start. It's rocky. It's always messy, and I think we have more to go. And I think the program needs some tweaking as we move ahead. And we'll work that through over the -- over the coming years."

Aetna's stock soared on Thursday, after the company announced that first-quarter net income soared 36 percent, boosted by gains from the multi-billion-dollar acquisition of Coventry Health Care, which administers Medicaid and offers Medicare Advantage plans.

(The Associated Press contributed some of the information included in this report.)