Insurer Stocks Take Hit After UnitedHealth Says Seniors Are Using More Outpatient Care

UnitedHealth Group’s stock took a nosedive on June 13 after Chief Financial Officer John Rex said elevated outpatient care utilization might push the insurer’s 2023 medical loss ratio (MLR) higher than it originally expected. Since UnitedHealth is the bellwether of the managed care sector, other insurers’ stock traded down in the wake of Rex’s comments. However, equities analysts suggested that the highly diversified UnitedHealth isn’t in any danger of taking a major earnings hit.

During the Goldman Sachs Global Healthcare Conference, Rex said UnitedHealth has seen higher levels of outpatient care activity since the first quarter of 2023, and looking at data from the second quarter, the trend doesn’t appear to be going away. He cited hip and knee replacements as well as cardiovascular care — all “very localized in [the] Medicare business” — as the areas where UnitedHealth is seeing higher utilization.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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