UnitedHealth Sees Bright Skies Ahead — Earnings Up
The country's biggest health insurer had a 3.1% increase in first-quarter earnings.
Bloomberg: UnitedHealth Raises Profit Forecast On Higher Enrollment
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), the biggest U.S. health insurer, increased its 2012 earnings forecast after reporting that first-quarter profit beat analysts' estimates for higher enrollment and low medical costs. ... UnitedHealth's shares climbed, along with other health insurers, after Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hemsley said he expects only a "gradual" rise in health spending this year (Nussbaum, 4/19).
The Wall Street Journal: UnitedHealth's Net Rises As Membership Climbs
UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s first-quarter earnings rose 3.1% behind swelling health-insurance membership and revenue growth across the company's insurance and health-services businesses, and as the company indicated patient traffic in hospitals remains muted. ... UnitedHealth, which added more than 1 million new members in the first quarter, despite a decline among some commercially-insured customers, also raised its full-year membership forecast (Kamp, 4/19).
Reuters: UnitedHealth Raises Outlook As Profit Rises
Investors also are concerned about the impact of the Supreme Court's decision on President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul law. Worries about the decision, which is expected in June, may prevent health insurance stocks from making more significant gains during the first-quarter reporting period (Krauskopf, 4/19).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Growth In Health Costs Limited As Americans Avoid Hospital Stays
Growth in the demand for care fell sharply after the economy tanked in 2008, and analysts have wondered when it would pick up as a recovery took hold. UnitedHealth's results from its 36 million members suggest: Not yet (Hancock, 4/19).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Cautious Patients Help UnitedHealth
Price-sensitive Americans are avoiding the hospital and going to urgent care instead, and it's continuing to help insurance companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. (Alexander, 4/19).