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Health insurer Aetna says its third-quarter net income slipped 1 percent, but the performance trumped expectations and the health insurer is raising its 2011 earnings forecast.

The Hartford, Conn., insurer now expects 2011 adjusted earnings of $5 per share, up from its forecast in July for $4.60 to $4.70 per share.

Aetna says it earned $490.4 million, or $1.30 per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That's down from $497.6 million, or $1.19 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue fell 1 percent to $8.4 billion.

Analyst forecast earnings of $1.15 per share on $8.28 billion in revenue.

Aetna is the third-largest commercial health insurer based on both enrollment and revenue, trailing WellPoint and UnitedHealth.

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