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Insurer UnitedHealth raises 2021 profit view after results top estimates

Stock Markets15 minutes ago (Jul 15, 2021 06:55AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of the UnitedHealth Group appears on the side of one of their office buildings in Santa Ana, California, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) -UnitedHealth Group Inc beat quarterly profit estimates and raised its full-year earnings target on Thursday, as the largest U.S. health insurer reported strong growth in its Optum unit that manages drug benefits.

The industry bellwether raised its full-year profit target for the second time this year, and now expects adjusted earnings of $18.30 to $18.80 per share in 2021, compared with its previous forecast of $18.10 to $18.60.

For the quarter ended June 30, the company reported a medical loss ratio – the percentage of collected premiums spent on medical services – of 82.8%, compared with 70.2% a year earlier, when patients put off non-urgent care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly half of all Americans have been fully vaccinated according to latest government data and daily new COVID-19 cases ebbed in May and June, encouraging people to return to doctors’ offices for routine, non-elective medical care.

Revenue from UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH)’s Optum unit, which manages drug benefits and offers healthcare data analytics services, rose 17.2% to $38.3 billion from a year earlier.

UnitedHealth reported adjusted earnings of $4.70 per share, beating estimates of $4.43 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company has beaten Wall Street’s expectations for earnings per share for at least the last eight quarters.

Insurer UnitedHealth raises 2021 profit view after results top estimates

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