UnitedHealth reported better fourth-quarter results than analysts had expected, while maintaining its December full-year 2021 forecast.
UnitedHealth Group (UNH) reported revenue growth for the 4th quarter ended December 31, but lower profit margins from prior quarters.
Earnings per share for the fourth quarter fell 35% to $ 2.52, but was $ 0.12 more than analysts’ estimates of $ 2.40.
Revenue grew 8% to $ 65.5 billion, also above the Wall Street average of $ 65.14 billion. UnitedHealth’s quarterly revenue and earnings statistics for the last 2 years are available here.
UnitedHealth Optum posted strong revenue growth of 21%, generating the largest profit for the company. Optum provides data analytics services to improve productivity, reduce overall costs, and optimize customer service in healthcare.
UnitedHealth’s $ 13 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare (completed in early January) is expected to further enhance Optum’s data analytics capabilities. Assuming the deal closes in the second half of 2021 as expected, UnitedHealth expects the acquisition to add about $ 470 million to its 2022 profit.
The largest US insurance company said its profits were affected by a rebound in American demand for medical services and rising costs associated with its programs to make testing and treatment for Covid-19 more accessible to customers.
Given that many clinic visits are still postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the insurance company may face an increase in claims after the end of the pandemic.
The closure of a large number of jobs in the United States is currently reducing the number of insurance, which also affects the income and profits of insurance companies.
Forward-looking statements from UnitedHealth
UnitedHealth Group maintained its fiscal year 2021 earnings per share forecast in the $ 17.75- $ 18.25 range, which includes a $ 1.80 decline due to Covid-19-related treatment and testing costs. At the same time, the average value of the forecast range is slightly lower than the analyst estimate of $ 18.18.