Aetna 2010 operating earnings to be below 2009 figures

Aetna (AET) shares are down today after the company issued a statement that 2010 operating earnings are likely to be down from 2009 figueres. The company affirmed its previous 2009 guidance of $2.75 a share.

The Street consensus for next year had been for $3.09 a share.

Aetna CFO Joseph Zubretsky was to make the forecast today at a presentaton at the J.P, Morgan health care conference in San Francisco.

According to a slide deck prepared for the presentation the company’s view is “2010 challenges outweigh opportunities.” Here’s there list from both sides of the ledger:

Challenges:

  • In-Group attrition.
  • High COBRA costs.
  • Medical cost pressures.
  • Pricing pressures.
  • Uncertain risk membership.
  • Lower Medicare reimbursement.
  • Increased SG&A costs.

Opportunities:

  • Pricing actions.
  • Medical quality and cost management.
  • Aligning costs with membership.
  • Higher excess capital

AET today is down$1.72, or 5.3%, to $31.02.

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