UnitedHealth Earnings OK, Outlook Disappoints

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) reported third-quarter 2013 results before markets opened Thursday morning. The health insurance and benefits management firm posted diluted quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $1.53 on revenues of $30.6 billion. In the same period a year ago, UnitedHealth reported EPS of $1.50 on $30.4 billion in revenue. Third-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.53 on revenues of $30.78 billion.

The company cut its EPS outlook for the full year to a range of $5.40 to $5.50, just below the current consensus estimate of $5.51.

Enrollment growth year-to-date totals 4.35 million and includes gains in all major market categories. The consolidated medical care ratio rose 1.6% to 80.6% in the third quarter.

For the full year, the company forecasts revenues of $123 billion to $124 billion.

The company grew its Medicare and retirement revenues by 13% year-over-year to $11 billion in the quarter. The employer and individual insurance business slipped about 2.9% to $11.3 billion, and the company’s total Optum benefits management business grew 33% to $9.6 billion.

Shares were down more than 4% in the first 45 minutes of trading Thursday, at $72.10 in a 52-week range of $51.09 to $75.88. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $79.30 before the results were announced.

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