UnitedHealth Sees Sunny 1Q, Says Deferred Care Impact Is MIA

UnitedHealth Group on April 14 reported first-quarter 2022 financial results that beat Wall Street expectations and led the health care behemoth to raise its full-year earnings guidance. The firm also offered insights into health care utilization trends that could serve as good news for the entire industry, as executives said they still have not seen evidence of members’ health conditions deteriorating because of care deferred during the pandemic.

Overall, care utilization in the quarter was roughly at baseline levels, Chief Financial Officer John Rex said during UnitedHealth’s conference call to discuss quarterly results. With the Omicron variant-driven surge early in the year, the company recorded about 40,000 COVID-19-related hospitalizations in January — “the highest of any month since the onset of the pandemic,” Rex said. But by March, hospitalizations declined to around 2,000 as the surge receded.

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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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