UnitedHealth beats quarterly profit estimates

(Reuters) - Health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc beat quarterly profit estimates for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, helped partly by lower-than-expected medical costs due to fewer elective surgeries as hospitals made room for COVID-19 patients.

Reuters January 21, 2021 00:06:59 IST
UnitedHealth beats quarterly profit estimates

UnitedHealth beats quarterly profit estimates

(Reuters) - Health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc beat quarterly profit estimates for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, helped partly by lower-than-expected medical costs due to fewer elective surgeries as hospitals made room for COVID-19 patients.

For the most part of last year, health insurers gained as people afraid of contracting the virus also avoided hospital visits for routine and elective medical procedures during the height of the pandemic.

UnitedHealth reported a medical loss ratio - the percentage of premiums paid out for medical services - of 79.1% for 2020, improving from 82.5% a year earlier, capped by COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine costs.

The company said its profit was impacted by a recovery in demand for healthcare services and rise in costs related to its programs to make COVID-19 testing and treatment more accessible for its customers.

In contrast, rival Humana Inc earlier this month said it expects potentially lower utilization of non-COVID healthcare services compared to usual levels, at least in the first few months of 2021.

UnitedHealth maintained its 2021 profit forecast from December and said it expected adjusted net earnings of $17.75 to $18.25 per share, including a $1.80 per share hit due to treatment and testing costs related to COVID-19.

The company reported adjusted earnings of $2.52 per share in the fourth quarter, beating estimates of $2.41 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.