UnitedHealth’s Results Indicate Care Deferral Trend Is Waning

UnitedHealth Group on Oct. 14 reported that its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) was $3.51 for the third quarter, beating the Wall Street consensus of $3.11. According to a company news release, UnitedHealth brought in $65.1 billion in the third quarter, representing an 8% increase year over year. However, the $3.51 adjusted EPS for the third quarter of this year is a 10% drop from last year’s third-quarter EPS.

Like other health insurers, UnitedHealth has benefited from reduced care utilization due to the COVID-19 pandemic: in the second quarter, the company posted a 70.2% medical loss ratio (MLR) (HPW 7/20/20, p. 3). In an Oct. 15 investor note, Citi analyst Ralph Giacobbe pointed out that the firm’s reported third-quarter MLR was 81.9%, lower than the Wall Street consensus projection of 83.6%.

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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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