NU Online News Service, April 29, 2004, 6:12 p.m. EDT – Increased health plan membership got some of the credit for higher first-quarter earnings at Aetna Inc., Hartford.[@@]

The managed care company is reporting $365.8 million in net income for the latest quarter on $4.8 billion in revenue, up from $330 million in net income on $4.5 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

The company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 13.3 million people, up from 13 million people a year earlier.

Average premium revenue per commercial medical plan member increased 6.2%, to $271.

The number of commercial members rose because of a combination of stronger new policy sales and higher retention rates, Aetna says.