UnitedHealth Group saw higher-than-expected utilization in the second quarter, driven by seniors and those seeking behavioral health care. However, the company kept its full-year adjusted earnings per share (EPS) guidance intact, indicating that it expects that it can offset the higher costs associated with increased utilization.
For the quarter, UnitedHealth had a medical loss ratio (MLR) of 83.2%, up from 81.5% in last year’s second quarter and from 82.2% in this year’s first quarter. That was due primarily to an increase in the number of members who sought care during the quarter, particularly in seniors who had delayed outpatient orthopedic and cardiac surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic.
John Rex, UnitedHealth’s Chief Financial Officer, told analysts during a July 14 conference call that the company filed its 2024 Medicare Advantage offerings with the assumption the elevated level of seniors seeking care will persist into next year.