By Matt Grossman
UnitedHealth Group Inc. recorded stronger year-over-year revenue and profit figures for the first three months of 2021, driven by growth in its insurance programs for communities and seniors and its health-services business.
Although the coronavirus pandemic is still weighing on the healthcare industry, the Minnetonka, Minn.-based company said Thursday that its first-quarter results had boosted its outlook for the full year. UnitedHealth is the parent company for insurer UnitedHealthcare, as well as the Optum health-services business.
In the latest quarter, the number of people served by UnitedHealthcare's medical plans grew by more than 1 million to 49.5 million, driven by expansion of the number of people on its Medicare Advantage plans.
A Medicaid contract award in Oklahoma, growth in specialty products such as dental and vision plans, and a strong selling season for commercial benefits also contributed to the insurance division's first-quarter growth, UnitedHealth said.
UnitedHealth's total revenue grew by 9% to $70.2 billion, up from $64.4 billion in the same three months a year earlier. Revenue from premiums improved to $55.49 billion, from $50.64 billion a year earlier.
The company's earnings increased to $5.08 a share, compared with $3.52 a share in the first quarter of 2020. Its adjusted profit was $5.31 a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been forecasting an adjusted profit of $4.39 a share, on revenue of $69.07 billion.
Revenue from UnitedHealth's Optum business grew by 10.8% to $36.4 billion. For the OptumHealth division, which served 99 million people, revenue per customer grew by nearly a third, in part because of the increasing acuity of the care provided.
With overall unemployment still higher than pre-pandemic levels, and with people catching up on medical visits that they had delayed earlier in the pandemic, UnitedHealth said it expects the public-health crisis to continue affecting its results. The company forecast the pandemic will cause a net reduction in its full-year adjusted profit of approximately $1.80 per share.
Still, UnitedHealth raised its full-year outlook, citing the trend in its results from the first three months of 2021. UnitedHealth said it now expects a full-year adjusted profit of $18.10 to $18.60 a share. In January, the company had forecast a full-year adjusted profit of $17.75 to $18.25 a share.
Write to Matt Grossman at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 15, 2021 07:59 ET (11:59 GMT)Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.