UnitedHealth boosts outlook, again, after big Q3 numbers

UnitedHealth boosts outlook, again, after big Q3 numbers

UnitedHealth boosts outlook, again, after big Q3 numbers

UnitedHealth’s third-quarter performance topped Wall Street’s view, bolstered by the improving performance of its Optum segment

For the three months ended Sept. 30, UnitedHealth earned $4.09 billion, or $4.28 per share. Removing non-recurring items, per-share earnings were $4.52, or 11 cents better than Wall Street had been projecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research expected.

It was also far above the $3.17 billion profit that the Minnetonka, Minnesota, company posted last year.

Shares rose 2% in premarket trading on Thursday.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is the first insurer to report earnings every quarter, and analysts see it as a bellwether for the sector.

Revenue climbed to $72.34 billion from $65.12 billion, which also topped $71.54 billion expected by industry analysts.

In the Optum unit, revenue rose to $39.8 billion from $35.4 billion. Revenue per customer increased rose 30% to serve 99 million people by quarter’s end. It served 98 million people a year earlier.

Optum’s prescription business continues to shine. OptumRx adjusted prescriptions climbed 6% as it served more people and as the provision of care and usage of pharmaceuticals has continued to recover over the last year.

Things grew murky by mid-July, however, as the delta variant began to spread, fueling another surge in cases and hospitalizations that grew in July and August. Hospitals again postponed thousands of elective or non-emergency procedures again so staffs could focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

Over the past month, cases have begun to recede rapidly again.

UnitedHealth now foresees its full-year adjusted earnings in a range of $ 18.65 to $18.90 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect $18.75 per share.

UnitedHealth has said the forecast includes a potential hit of $1.80 per share from the pandemic.