UnitedHealth 2Q Profit Soars With Enrollment

By Jennifer Booton Features FOXBusiness

UnitedHealth (UNH) reported on Tuesday stronger-than-expected second-quarter profit as customers continued to enroll in its many offerings, leading the company to lift its fiscal view.

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The largest U.S. health insurer booked net earnings of $1.3 billion, or $1.16 a share, compared with $1.12 billion, or 99 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, and ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 94 cents.

Revenue for the Minnetonka, Minn.-based company was $25.2 billion, up 8% from $23.26 billion a year ago, matching the Street's view.

We are achieving strong and consistent growth as customers respond to our focus on consistent fundamental execution and solutions-oriented innovation around their needs, UnitedHealth chief executive, Stephen Hemsley, said in a statement.

The company updated its fiscal guidance, with earnings in the range of $4.15 to $4.25 a share on sales of $101 billion. Wall Street is expecting earnings of $4.19 a share on sales of $101.53 billion.

UnitedHealth said medical care costs declined during the quarter with the help of favorable reserve development and successful efforts in aligning consumer engagement with clinical care management.

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The industry as a whole benefited from fewer procedures and doctors visits by customers amid the still weak economy.

Total membership for UnitedHealth was up 5% to 34.18 million at the end of the quarter, led in its Medicare and retirement segments.

Revenue in those units climbed 6% during the period with the help of Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Part D prescription drug programs. OptumHealth saw revenues soar 46% during the quarter on expanded clinical services.