(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — WellPoint Inc., the second-biggest U.S. health insurer by market capitalization, raised forecasts for profit and membership of its medical plans as earnings beat estimates.

Third-quarter earnings per share excluding one-time items were $2.36, WellPoint said in a statement today, beating the $2.26 average of 22 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. On that basis the company raised its full-year earnings forecast to a range of $8.75 to $8.85 a share, from a previous prediction of more than $8.60.

WellPoint and other insurers are adding customers as people buy insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law that requires all Americans to have health insurance and provides subsidies and online shopping markets for them to do so. The insurer said medical enrollment climbed by 259,000 in the quarter.

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