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UnitedHealth rides on Optum strength to beat profit estimates

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ReutersStock Markets6 minutes ago (Oct 14, 2021 06:27AM ET)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of the UnitedHealth Group appears on the side of one of their office buildings in Santa Ana, California, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) -UnitedHealth Group Inc on Thursday raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast after beating analysts’ estimates for third-quarter earnings, helped by a jump in revenue from its Optum unit that manages drug benefits.

The largest U.S. health insurer said revenue at its Optum business, which offers healthcare data analytics services, jumped about 14%.

The results come as U.S. health insurers wrestle with fluctuating medical costs since the coronavirus outbreak.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, UnitedHealth (NYSE:) reported a medical loss ratio – the percentage of premiums paid for medical services – of 83.0%, worse than 81.9% a year earlier. Analysts were expecting 83.5%.

A jump in infections in the country in July and August due to the fast-spreading Delta variant prompted hospitals in some states to again postpone non-urgent medical procedures, while COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions declined https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#new-hospital-admissions again September.

Excluding items, UnitedHealth reported earnings per share of $4.52, beating analysts’ estimate of $4.41, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

UnitedHealth raised its 2021 adjusted earnings per share forecast to $18.65 to $18.90, from $18.30 to $18.80 earlier.

The company’s shares rose 2% in premarket trading.

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