MINNEAPOLIS ( TheStreet) -- UnitedHealth's ( UNH) third-quarter earnings rose 23% to $1.28 billion, or $1.14 a share, on strong revenue growth in its health benefits and health services segments.

A year earlier, UnitedHealth earned $1.04 billion, or 89 cents a share.

UnitedHealth said revenue rose 9& to $23.67 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn 84 cents a share on revenue of $23.31 billion.

UnitedHealth said it anticipates earnings in 2010 of $3.85 to $3.95 a share on revenue close to $94 billion; analysts are looking for net income of $3.60 a share on revenue of $92.93 billion.

On a sequential basis, revenue growth in the third quarter for the company's health benefits segment was driven by increases in consumers served in UnitedHealthcare commercial risk-based products and in Medicaid membership. The sequential revenue increase for the health services businesses was led by Ingenix and OptumHealth, UnitedHealth said in a statement Tuesday.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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