UnitedHealth Q2 Earnings Beat Fails to Impress

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) reported its second-quarter financial results Thursday before the markets opened. This health insurance giant had $1.64 in earnings per share (EPS) on $36.3 billion in revenue. Thomson Reuters consensus estimates called for $1.59 in EPS on $35.66 billion in revenue. In the same period of the previous year, UnitedHealth posted $1.42 in EPS on $32.57 billion in revenue.

The company provided updated guidance for 2015. Ultimately UnitedHealth expects to have EPS in the range of $6.25 to $6.35 (up from $6.15 to $6.30) and revenues up by $11 billion to a total of $154 billion. The consensus estimates are $6.26 in EPS on $143.60 billion in revenue.

In the second quarter of 2015, the consolidated medical care ratio decreased 20 basis points year-over-year to 81.4%, according to UnitedHealth. Medical cost trends remained controlled and consistent with management expectations. Reserves developed favorably by a total of $90 million in the quarter.

UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual serves 29.4 million people, with growth of 650,000 people year to date, as of June 30, 2015. As expected, attrition in individual exchange products was the primary factor in the overall net reduction of 30,000 people served in the second quarter.

Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth, commented on earnings:

We are seeing consistent growth in response to our continuing focus on improving the ways we serve people and the health care system as a whole — making processes simpler, information more accessible and easier to use and mitigating costs, all to improve affordability and performance for customers and consumers.

At the end of the second quarter, the company reported cash and short-term investments of $9.8 billion, compared to $9.24 billion at the end of December 2014.

Shares of UnitedHealth were down 1.5% Thursday at $123.93, in a 52-week trading range of $78.74 to $126.05. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $141.42.

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