KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

UnitedHealth Reports Profit Up 7.4 Percent

The nation's largest health care insurer says membership is growing and medical costs have been lower than expected.

The Wall Street Journal: UnitedHealth Earnings: Company Raises Outlook As Profit Rises 7.4%
The nation's biggest managed-care company by revenue and membership posted a quarterly profit well above Wall Street expectations, and it raised the lower end of its forecast for full-year 2013 earnings. Solid membership growth and lower-than-expected medical costs are fueling the positive results. But UnitedHealth continued to be cautious about its outlook for next year, citing planned reductions in government funding of Medicare Advantage health plans for the elderly, as well as the implementation of certain provisions of the U.S. health-care overhaul law (Loftus, 7/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: UnitedHealth 2Q Profit Rises As Enrollment Improves, But Executives Caution On Medicare Cuts
UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s second-quarter net income rose almost 8 percent, buoyed by steady enrollment growth and slower-than-expected use of health care services. The nation's largest health insurer's earnings topped Wall Street estimates on Thursday, and it raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast. The company’s stock jumped nearly 6 percent (7/18).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: UnitedHealth Adds Members Amid Industry Shifts
With all the fulminations in the insurance industry over the federal health care law, the mood at United­Health Group Inc. seems to have settled into business as usual now that the most sweeping changes are just months away. "Apparently it's not going to be a complete disaster," deadpanned Stifel health care analyst Thomas Carroll, as the Minnetonka-based insurance giant posted better-than-expected earnings Thursday (Crosby, 7/19).

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