UnitedHealth Further Improves Outlook After Big Third Quarter Figures | Your money


MINNETONKA, Minnesota (AP) – UnitedHealth’s Optum division continues to outperform and after posting better-than-expected numbers for the third quarter, the nation’s largest health insurer has raised its outlook for 2021 for the third time.

UnitedHealth operates UnitedHealthcare, a health insurance company that covers more than 48 million people, primarily in the United States. Its Optum segment also operates one of the largest pharmacy benefit management operations in the country as well as a growing number of clinics and emergency and surgical care centers.

For the three months ended September 30, UnitedHealth earned $ 4.09 billion, or $ 4.28 per share. Removing the one-time items, earnings per share were $ 4.52, 11 cents better than Wall Street had expected, according to an expected Zacks Investment Research poll.

It was also well above the $ 3.17 billion profit the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company posted last year.

Shares rose 2% in pre-market on Thursday.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is the first insurer to report quarterly earnings, and analysts see it as a proxy for the industry.

Revenue climbed to $ 72.34 billion from $ 65.12 billion, which also exceeded $ 71.54 billion expected by industry analysts.

In the Optum unit, revenue increased from $ 35.4 billion to $ 39.8 billion. Revenue per customer increased 30% to serve 99 million people at the end of the quarter. It served 98 million people a year earlier.

Optum’s prescription business continues to shine. Adjusted prescriptions for OptumRx increased 6% as it served more people and healthcare delivery and pharmaceutical use continued to recover over the past year.

The health insurance industry appeared to be emerging from the pandemic following the emergence of vaccines in early 2021, and UnitedHealth believed it would see the benefits of a return to normal in the second half of this year.

However, things turned murky in mid-July, as the delta variant began to spread, fueling a further rise in cases and hospitalizations that spiked in July and August. Hospitals have again postponed thousands of elective or elective procedures so staff can focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

Over the past month, cases have started to decline rapidly again.

UnitedHealth is now forecasting its annual adjusted earnings to range from $ 18.65 to $ 18.90 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet are expecting $ 18.75 per share.

UnitedHealth said the forecast included a potential hit of $ 1.80 per share due to the pandemic.

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