UnitedHealth Projects Growth Despite COVID Costs, Plus Tech Investment in 2021

At its annual investor day on Dec. 1, UnitedHealth Group predicted that it will incur $2 billion in extra, incidental expenditures in 2021 caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Wall Street analysts agreed with UnitedHealth executives’ overall bullish outlook, citing the payer-provider giant’s projected growth in Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment and ongoing strong returns from its OptumHealth provider segment.

Citi analyst Ralph Giacobbe wrote in a Dec. 2 investor note that he was convinced by UnitedHealth executives’ assertions that COVID-19 held back projected 2021 revenue growth, and he anticipated “a higher baseline to consider when contemplating future years.”

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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