(Bloomberg) — Aetna Inc., the third-biggest health insurer by sales, raised its full-year forecast, helped by a surge in Medicare and Medicaid premiums and medical claims that were lower than the company anticipated.

Profit for 2013 may be $5.50 to $5.60 a share, Aetna said today in a statement. The Hartford, Connecticut-based carrier had forecast earnings of at least $5.40 a share in January. Excluding costs for its acquisition of Coventry Health Care Inc., first-quarter earnings were $1.50, 12 cents higher than the average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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