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UnitedHealth Gains on Healthy Third-Quarter Earnings, Brighter Outlook

UnitedHealth Group shares rise after posting adjusted third-quarter earnings that beat forecasts and lifting its full-year outlook amid lower Covid-19 after-affects.

UnitedHealth Group  (UNH) - Get UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Report stock gained on Thursday after the healthcare giant posted adjusted third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts and raised its full-year outlook amid strong membership growth and lower negative Covid-19 after-affects on its operating costs.

The Minnetonka, Mine.-based healthcare company posted adjusted earnings of $4.19 billion, or $4.28 a share, for the third quarter, vs. $3.17 billion, or $3.30 a share in the comparable year-ago quarter. 

On an adjusted basis, the company posted per-share earnings of $4.52, above analysts’ forecasts of $4.41 a share. Revenue came in at $72.34 billion vs. $65.12 billion a year ago. Analysts had been expecting recvenue of $71.3 billion.

“Our positive growth and operating results are thanks to the 340,000 Optum and UnitedHealthcare team members who strive every day to help clinicians deliver and people access quality, affordable health care,” CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement.

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Cash flows from operations in the third quarter were $7.6 billion, or 1.8 times net income, and $19.1 billion year-to-date, or 1.4 times net income, UnitedHealth said. The company’s third quarter medical care ratio rang in at 83% compared to 81.9% last year, with the variance “…due largely to the repeal of the health insurance tax."

For the full year, UnitedHealth said it now expects net earnings of between $17.70 and $17.95 a share, and adjusted earnings of between $18.65 and $18.90 a share. It held to its previous full-year 2021 outlook for net unfavorable COVID-19 earnings effects.

At last check, shares of UnitedHealth were up 5.2% at $424.58. The stock is up 21.48% year to date.