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UnitedHealth Reports High Profits, Exceeds Expectations On Lower Medical Costs Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

By John F. Heerdink, Jr.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) released better than expected quarterly earnings this week, reporting adjusted earnings of $2.52 per share while beating Wall Street estimates by 11 cents, as per reports.

Health insurers incurred lower healthcare costs, for much of 2020 as people avoided doctor’s visits, hospitals out of fear of contracting COVID-19, and also not so urgent medical procedures were put on hold. The company informed the benefits from the deferred care was largely offset by coronavirus testing and treatment costs in the fourth quarter. 

Healthcare spending returned to more normal levels early in the quarter, rose in late November and December with the spike in COVID-19 costs, the company stated on a conference call.

The insurer reported a medical loss ratio (MLR) – the percentage of premiums paid for medical services – of 83.2% for the quarter, less than analysts’ forecasts of 84.36%. Chief Financial Officer John Rex informed that COVID-19 accounted for about 11% of all care activity during the fourth quarter in comparison to about 6% in the third. The company maintained the 2021 profit forecast it issued last month for adjusted net earnings of $17.75 to $18.25 per share including $1.80 per share in treatment and testing costs related to COVID-19.

Dow 30 component UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States. The company’s UnitedHealthcare segment offers consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services for national employers, public sector employers, mid-sized employers, small businesses, individuals, and military service members; and health care coverage, and health and well-being services to individuals aged 50 and older addressing their needs for preventive and acute health care services. To learn more about (UNH) please visit the Vista Partners Company Dedicated UNH Coverage Page

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Vista Partners LLC (”Vista”) is a California Registered Investment Advisor based in San Francisco. Vista delivers timely and relevant insights via the website: www.vistapglobal.com with daily stories, weekly market updates, monthly macroeconomic newsletters, podcasts, & Vista’s proprietary equity and market research to help you stay informed and stay competitive. Vista’s mission is to invest partner capital while arming investors with a comprehensive global financial perspective across all market sectors. Vista also seeks to provide select issuers with actionable advice regarding fundamental development, corporate governance, and capital market directives.

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(Read Original Story: UnitedHealth profit tops expectations on lower medical costs despite COVID-19 surge in Reuters)


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