Health Insurance Giants Earn $12.69B in 2012

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The nation's largest investor-owned health insurers — Aetna, Cigna, Humana, WellPoint and UnitedHealth Group — earned a combined $12.69 billion in fiscal year 2012, up about 1.28 percent from 2011.

Fourth quarter profits for all five giants totaled $2.49 billion, half of which came from UnitedHealth, the parent company of the largest U.S. health insurer.

Here are the individual financial results of the five largest commercial payors for fourth quarter and year-end 2012:

1.  UnitedHealth Group's profit was down 1.1 percent for the fourth quarter at $1.24 billion but grew its net income 7.5 percent for the whole year to $5.53 billion.

2. WellPoint, the nation's second-largest commercial health insurer, netted $2.66 billion for the year, a slight 0.3 percent increase from 2011. Fourth-quarter growth was more dramatic with a 38.4 percent spike year-over-year to $464.2 million.

3. Aetna saw the biggest decline in growth for the quarter and the year among the big five. It took a 49-percent nosedive in fourth-quarter income over the previous year to $190.1 million and fell 17.9 percent for the year to $1.66 billion in profit.

4. Cigna grew the most among the health insurance elites, posting a 40.5 percent jump to $406 million in fourth-quarter profits and a 28.8 percent boost to rake in $1.62 billion in income for the year.

5. Humana had a challenging year, dropping 3.5 percent to $192 million in fourth quarter profit and falling 13.9 percent on the year to pocket $1.22 billion.

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