UnitedHealth profits up 23% as Medicare, Medicaid enrollment jumps

UnitedHealth Group's third-quarter profits climbed 23 percent to $1.56 billion, primarily because of its growing Medicare and Medicaid plans and its Optum health services business.

Revenue from UnitedHealth's Medicare program increased 13 percent to $10 billion year-over-year, while its Medicaid plans jumped 12 percent to $3.9 billion. Meanwhile, revenue from its employer and individual plans increased 2 percent to $11.6 billion, Reuters reported.

UnitedHealth's strong quarterly results show medical spending hasn't affected earnings, despite improvements in the housing and employment markets. In fact, company officials said utilization was lower than expected and praised the effectiveness of their cost-control efforts, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"Execution across our enterprise continues to be strong, and our financial flexibility remains distinctive," UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said on a call with analysts. Although the company expects "strong execution to continue in 2013," Hemsley said, "given the weak business climate and employment outlook in the United States, the mounting pressures on federal and state budgets--to mention just a few of the challenges--we continue to be cautious about 2013 earnings performance," Bloomberg reported.

UnitedHealth also saw positive results with its Optum unit, which increased earnings by 28 percent. In total, the company increased enrollment by 2.1 million members to 36.5 million, up from 34.4 million a year ago.

To learn more:
- read the Reuters article
- see the Bloomberg article
- check out the Minneapolis Star Tribune article

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