Bloomberg News

Healthcare provider Anthem (ANTM - Get Report) on Wednesday reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts amid strong growth within its clinical and specialty services.

The Indianapolis-based company said it earned $1.55 billion, or $5.91 a share, compared with $1.31 billion, or $4.99 a share, in the comparable year-earlier period. On an adjusted basis, the company said it earned $1.58 billion, or $6.03 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $5.85 a share. 

Revenue rose to $24.67 from $22.54 billion. 

"Looking ahead, the upcoming launch of IngenioRx is a key milestone in the realization of our vision and strategy," CEO Gail Boudreaux said in a statement. "With IngenioRx, we finally have a strong integrated pharmacy and medical platform, one that is predicated on providing the lowest absolute cost of care, and we are well positioned for accelerated growth."

The company also said it repurchased 1.1 million shares of its common stock for $294 million in the first quarter. As of March 31, the company had approximately $5.2 billion of board-approved share repurchase authorization remaining.

Anthem said it paid a quarterly dividend of 80 cents a share, or $3.20 a share on an annualized basis, representing a distribution of cash totaling $206 million. The second quarter dividend is payable on June 25, to shareholders of record as of June 10.

Shares of Anthem slipped .5% to $249.37 in early trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.