Healthcare Business

Does UnitedHealth Deserve More Credit for Q4?

Chris Lange

When UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) reported its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday, the Minnesota-based health care giant said that it had $3.90 in earnings per share (EPS) and $60.9 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates of $3.78 in EPS and $61.04 billion in revenue, as well as the $3.28 per share and $58.42 billion posted in the same period of last year.

During the latest quarter, total revenues grew $2.5 billion or 4.1%, year over year, reflecting balanced, broad-based revenue growth across the businesses.

UnitedHealthcare revenues increased 4.2% year over year to $48.2 billion. Third-quarter 2019 earnings from operations at UnitedHealthcare grew by 16.7%, driven by revenue growth and strong cost disciplines.

Optum revenues grew by 8.0% year over year to $29.8 billion, and earnings from operations advanced 11.1%.

Looking ahead to the 2020 full year, the company now expects to see EPS in the range of $16.25 to $16.55. Consensus estimates call for $16.46 in EPS and $260.95 billion in revenue for the year.

David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth, commented:

The dedicated women and men of UnitedHealth Group work together each day to improve outcomes and the patient and physician experience, while making health care more affordable, enabling us to serve more people better, while positioning us for continued growth in 2020.

Shares of UnitedHealth were last seen relatively flat on Wednesday morning, at $288.10 in a 52-week range of $208.07 to $300.00. The consensus price target is $325.68.