Despite a decrease in commercial enrollment as companies lay off employees and trim benefits,
more than doubled its profit in the second quarter.
Expecting an even healthier future, the company raised the low end of its full-year guidance.
During the quarter, the company earned $859 million, or 73 cents a share, compared with $337 million, or 27 cents in the year-ago period. Analysts expected a profit of 70 cents a share.
Last year's results were weighed down by two lawsuit settlements, which resulted in a charge of $922 million, or 47 cents a share.
Revenue rose 7% to $21.66 billion from $20.27 billion on increased premiums, while investment income fell 36% to $153 million, which reduced earnings by 5 cents per share. But the uptick was due in part to price increases.
UnitedHealth's commercial health insurance enrollment fell 6% to 25 million in the second quarter, and its total enrollment, which includes government plans like Medicaid and Medicare, fell 2% to 32.1 million.
Looking forward, the company sees full-year earnings in the range of $3 to $3.15 per share, up from its previous guidance of $2.90 to $3.15 a share.
On Monday, UnitedHealth said that it will pay about $510 million to buy rival Health Net, which includes 578,000 members in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and is expected to generate 2009 revenue of about $2.7 billion. The transaction is expected to close within a year.
Shares of the company were up 3% to $25.65 in morning trading.
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