UnitedHealth Group’s operating earnings rise 15% in Q1: 6 things to know


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Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group saw revenue and earnings from operations increase in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 despite its widespread withdrawal from the ACA individual marketplace this year.

Here are six highlights from the payer’s financials for the quarter ended March 31.

1. UnitedHealth reported first quarter revenues of $48.7 billion, reflecting a 9.4 percent year-over-year increase.

2. The payer’s consolidated first quarter revenues were reduced by $1.6 billion due to its large-scale exit from 34 of the ACA individual markets it participated in 2016 and the 2017 health insurance tax deferral.

3. UnitedHealth recorded a 15 percent year-over-year increase of earnings from operations, from $2.96 billion in the first quarter of  FY 2016 to $3.4 billion in the first quarter of FY 2017.

4. UnitedHealthcare, the health insurance arm of UnitedHealth, recorded $40.1 billion in revenues for the first quarter, up 11.8 percent from the first quarter of FY 2016. Its membership grew by 730,000 policyholders during the same period. The health insurer also saw its first quarter earnings from operations increase 15 percent year-over-year to $2.1 billion. UnitedHealthcare attributed the growth to increased operating margins.

5. UnitedHealth’s health services platform Optum saw earnings from operations increase 15.6 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion on revenue of $21.2 billion. Of Optum’s three segments, its advisory consulting arm OptumInsight reported the largest revenue growth at 10.6 percent year-over-year due to increases in revenue management, business process and technology services.

6. UnitedHealth Group raised its full-year 2017 financial outlook and now expects about $200 billion in revenue and adjusted net earnings of $9.65 to $9.85 per share.


Fitch: Health insurer credit metrics hit hard in first half of 2016


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Higher leverage ratios from acquisition-related debt combined with declining revenue growth and declining interest coverage ratios contributed to deteriorating credit metrics for publicly traded health insurers in the first half of 2016, according to a Fitch Ratings report.

The weakened credit picture has led Fitch to take several negative rating actions. The rating agency downgraded Louisville, Ky.-based Humana’s senior notes, revised Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group’s rating outlook to negative and placed ratings of Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, Indianapolis-based Anthem and St. Louis-based Centene on negative watch.

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