Aetna joined a growing list of health insurers topping Wall Street's quarterly profit expectations, and it did so despite higher taxes and a number of acquisitions.

Aetna joined a growing list of health insurers topping Wall Street's quarterly profit expectations, and it did so despite higher taxes and a number of acquisitions.

It also raised its 2015 forecast again, saying Thursday that it now expects adjusted earnings to range between $7.45 and $7.55 per share.

That's up from a per-share earnings forecast of $7.40 in August, but still short of the $7.53 that analysts are looking for, according to FactSet.

In the third quarter, Aetna's net income slid 6 percent to $560.1 million from $594.5 million in last year's quarter.

Adjusted results totaled $1.90 per share, which is 12 cents better than analysts had projected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Operating revenue, which excludes investment gains, rose 2 percent to about $14.99 billion, which missed average analyst expectations of $15.16 billion.

Income taxes climbed nearly 16 percent at nation's third-largest health insurer, to $460.5 million. That's mainly due to a higher, non-deductible health insurer fee levied as part of the health care overhaul.

The Hartford, Connecticut, company also booked acquisition-related costs of $44.4 million in the quarter tied to a handful of deals. The biggest is its pending $35-billion acquisition of Medicare Advantage coverage provider Humana.

Aetna's report follows Street-topping results released by the nation's largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., the Blue Cross-Blue Shield carrier Anthem Inc. and Centene Corp.

Shares of Aetna have increased 25 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed 1.5 percent. The stock has climbed 44 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on AET at http://www.zacks.com/ap/AET

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Keywords: Aetna, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings