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U.S. health insurer Humana raises 2017 profit forecast

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April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. health insurer Humana Inc on Monday reported first-quarterly profit that topped its own expectations and the company raised its full-year profit forecast, mainly helped by a strong performance in its retail business.

The company said the results in its retail business were largely attributable to "prior period development" in its direct-to-customer Medicare Advantage unit, which sells plans to the elderly and people with disabilities.

Humana's shares rose 2.5 percent to $219 in trading after the bell on Monday. The company had said it would issue preliminary results ahead of its investor day scheduled for Tuesday.

Humana said its earnings per share rose to $7.49 in the first quarter from $1.68 a year earlier, while revenue dipped slightly to $13.76 million from $13.80 million.

Excluding the individual commercial medical business, which Humana will no longer offer from 2018, first-quarter revenue rose to $13.5 million from $12.9 million.

The company said it now expects full-year earnings of at least $16.91 per share, compared with its prior forecast of $16.65 to $16.85 per share.

The insurer expects full-year earnings of at least $11.10 per share, excluding one-time items, compared with its previous guidance of $10.80 to $11.00 per share. (Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)