AP

UnitedHealth ups expectations for the year after strong Q3

Oct 14, 2022, 3:23 AM | Updated: 9:11 am

UnitedHealth trumped third-quarter expectations and hiked its 2022 forecast again as one of the largest U.S. health insurance providers moved deeper into delivering care.

The health care giant said Friday that it booked 17% revenue growth from its Optum segment, which runs doctors offices and clinics as well as one of the country’s biggest pharmacy benefit management operations.

The company said it continued to expand clinic-based, surgical and home care as it grew value-based payment arrangements. Those involve basing doctor or care provider pay more on how a patient does instead of delivering a fee for each service.

UnitedHealth’s insurance segment covers more than 51 million people, mostly in the United States, and it still brings in most of the company’s revenue. But company leaders have been focusing more on growing care delivery too, in part to manage the insurance expense by improving customer health.

The company’s Optum Health segment brought in $18.46 billion in revenue in the quarter, more than what UnitedHealth got from its employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Optum Health provides care to people insured through UnitedHealth and to other customers as well.

UnitedHealth’s Optum Rx segment, which manages prescription drug coverage, brought in over $25 billion in revenue. That represents 8% growth over last year’s quarter.

UnitedHealth’s bottom line soar nearly 29% to $5.26 billion in the third quarter. Total revenue grew about 12% to $80.89 billion. Earnings adjusted for one-time items were $5.79 per share.

Analysts forecast earnings of $5.45 per share on $80.72 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Total health insurance enrollment grew 2% compared to last year’s quarter on gains in government-funded Medicaid and Medicare Advantage coverage. The company’s commercial enrollment, which includes employer-based coverage, stayed flat at nearly 26.6 million people.

The company now expects 2022 adjusted earnings to range between $21.85 and $22.05 per share.

That compares to the average expectation for $21.87 per share on Wall Street, according to FactSet.

In July, the health care giant had hiked its forecast for 2022 earnings to between $21.40 and $21.90 per share. That represented an increase of 20 cents per share on both ends of the range from its previous outlook.

Shares of Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. climbed nearly 3%, or $14.85, to $524.76 Friday while broader indexes were mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which UnitedHealth is a component, rose slightly.

UnitedHealth’s stock has spent much of this year trading near $500 or above it. The price has essentially doubled since early 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy

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UnitedHealth ups expectations for the year after strong Q3