UnitedHealth adds 10M members as revenue, profits climb

Boosted by almost 10 million new members, UnitedHealth's revenue and profits rose during the second quarter.

The country's largest health insurer saw its net earnings increase to $2.4 billion from $2.2 billion last year. And its revenue rose 12 percent to $30.41 billion from $27.27 billion, UnitedHealth said in a statement Thursday.

Much of that increase was driven by a 25 percent rise in enrollment to a total of 45 million members. Most of the new members came from UnitedHealth's purchase of Brazil's largest healthcare firm plus its recent takeover of a Tricare contract.

The second quarter results also showed that UnitedHealth's business was largely unaffected by the White House's decision to delay the employer mandate. "Employers who currently offer insurance are going to continue to do that," Gail Boudreaux, CEO of UnitedHealthcare, told Reuters. "There is a lot of change coming to the marketplace and the intense focus is around affordability."

And even though UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley cautioned that cuts to Medicare Advantage will likely pressure the company, he said it still plans to compete in the program.

"We are focused on operating that program to its maximum potential and serving as many seniors as we can ... recognizing the funding pressure that is ongoing. We are exiting certain markets, we're exiting certain plans, we're narrowing our networks across virtually all of the markets," Hemsley told analysts, according to the Associated Press. "Those are not good things for American seniors who engage in these benefits."

To learn more:
- here's the UnitedHealth statement
- read the Reuters article
- see the Associated Press article

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