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UnitedHealth Group says earnings rise 32% on Medicare growth

The insurer said enrollment grew by nearly 1 million people, split evenly between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement coverage.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

On Tuesday, UnitedHealth Group reported earnings of $7.1 million for the nine months ending September 30, compared to $5.3 million during the same period in 2016,  a 32 percent increase.

The company performed well across all sectors, said CEO David Wichmann.

[Also: Attorney General drops Medicare Advantage lawsuit against UnitedHealth]

UnitedHealthcare, the company's insurance arm, is expecting more Medicare growth, according to CEO Steve Nelson. Enrollment grew by nearly 1 million people, 100,000 of them in the last three months, who were split evenly between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement.

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Medicare revenues of $16.3 billion grew more than 17 percent over last year, he said.

[Also: Feds allege UnitedHealth Group doctored patient records, overbilled Medicare by a $1 billion]

"We expect more Medicare growth in 2018 based on both the growing MA market and our unique value proposition, which offer stable products, a simple and personal experience and a distinctive culture," Nelson said.

About 85 percent of seniors are enrolled in plans rated four stars or higher. Final star ratings in 2019 are expected to approximate or exceed the high performing levels of 2018, he said.

At Optum, earnings increased nearly 16 percent driven by strong revenue growth, business expansion and strengthened operating  margins for both OptumHealth and OptumRx, and a 20 percent operating margin from OptumInsight, said CEO Larry Renfro.

OptumInsight and the Advisory Board agreed to merge in August.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com