UnitedHealth Group Reports Second Quarter Growth

The Hartford Courant

UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, on Thursday reported financial growth driven by its expansion of medical benefits sold to state and federal governments, Medicare-related products, and its international health care business.

Net income for the second quarter was $1.41 billion, or $1.42 per share, compared with $1.44 billion, or $1.40 per share, during the same period in 2013.

Total revenues were up to $32.57 billion compared with $30.4 billion during the same three-month period in 2013.

UnitedHealthcare is the largest division of UnitedHealth Group, based in Minnetonka, Minn. UnitedHealthcare, which has major operations in Connecticut, reported second quarter revenues of $30.1 billion, up 6 percent from the same period in 2013.

UnitedHealthcare saw growth in medical benefits programs provided by federal and state governments, along with programs for people 65 and older and international growth, while it had a decrease in business related to health benefits provided by U.S. employers.

UnitedHealthcare had 7 percent growth in its Medicare and Retirement programs, accounting for $11.8 billion in revenue during the quarter. In Medicare Advantage, the company grew its membership by 65,000, and Medicare Supplement grew by 300,000 customers, year over year. Medicare Part D, the stand-alone prescription drug coverage, grew by 350,000 people in one year.

UnitedHealthcare's total commercial membership, meaning people in employer-based plans, was down to 28.85 million as of June 30 from 30.1 million a year earlier. The company had 11.32 million people in public and senior plans, including Medicare and Medicaid related plans, compared with 10.23 million a year earlier.

Sterne Agee financial analyst Brian Wright wrote in a note to investors that while UnitedHealth Group is seeing improved results from government-related business, Sterne Agee believes the deteriorating fundamentals in its commercial business will probably prevent the company from showing as much share-price upside as its competitors.

During the quarter, UnitedHealth Group increased its annual dividend payment to $1.50 per share. The company renewed its share repurchase program for 100 million shares, about 10 percent of outstanding shares. UnitedHealth Group has spent nearly $2 billion repurchasing 25 million shares.

The company's stock closed at $85.11 Thursday, up $1.35.

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