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UnitedHealth Group boosted by solid Q3 results and updated outlook

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) reported better-than-expected results for the third quarter of 2018 and raised its earnings guidance for the full year. Shares were up 4.2% in morning trade on Tuesday.

The healthcare services provider reported a 12.4% year-over-year increase in revenues to $56.6 billion helped by strong revenue rates in the UnitedHealthcare and Optum segments.

Net income attributable to UnitedHealth Group common shareholders was $3.18 billion or $3.24 per diluted share compared to $2.48 billion or $2.51 per diluted share in the prior-year period. Adjusted diluted EPS rose 28% to $3.41.

UnitedHealth Group third quarter 2018 earnings infographic
UnitedHealth Group Q3 2018 Earnings Infographic

The UnitedHealthcare segment reported a 12.8% increase in revenues helped by an increase in customers, membership growth in higher acuity programs, higher pricing and resumption of the 2018 health insurance tax. The segment saw revenue increases across all its divisions and a growth in customers by 2.8 million.

In the Optum segment, revenues improved 11% with growth in all its divisions. The revenue increase was driven by several factors including growth in care delivery, behavioral health and data analytics products as well as expansion in business process outsourcing and care provider advisory services.

The company’s consolidated medical care ratio decreased 40 basis points year-over-year to 81%, as the return of the health insurance tax more than offset business mix changes and reserve development. Days claims payable remained unchanged from last year at 51 days.

UnitedHealth updated its 2018 EPS outlook and now expects GAAP EPS to approach $12.10 versus the prior range of $11.80 to $12.05. Adjusted EPS is expected to be $12.80 versus the prior guidance of $12.50 to $12.75.

Earnings Preview: What to expect from UnitedHealth’s Q3 results?

The company’s peers Aetna (AET) and CVS Health (CVS) are expected to report their third quarter results on October 30 and November 6 respectively.

UnitedHealth’s shares are up 22% so far this year and over the past three months, the stock has climbed 4%.

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