NU Online News Service, Oct. 30, 2003, 5:47 p.m. EST – Aetna Inc., Hartford, says efforts to cut operating expenses and hold down medical costs helped it double its third quarter net income.

The company is reporting $216 million in net income for the latest quarter on $4.5 billion in revenue, compared with $99 million in net income on $4.8 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2002.

The company ended the quarter providing or administering medical coverage for 13 million people, down from 14 million people a year earlier.

Revenue dropped because of the effects of low interest rates on investment income and the decrease in membership, Aetna says.

But profits were up because the ratio of commercial claims expenses to commercial premium revenue fell and average revenue per member rose, Aetna says.

Average health care premium revenue per commercial risk plan member increased 7%, to $770.