UnitedHealth, the largest insurer in the United States, reported 43% profit and 9% revenue growth in the first three months of 2021, beating Wall Street’s expectations. UnitedHealth has raised its financial outlook for 2021.
UnitedHealth (UNH) on Thursday released its strong financial results for the first quarter of 2021, traditionally showing the main growth in its Optum division, whose analytical services enable healthcare organizations to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve the quality of customer service.
UnitedHealth reacted to the report with a strong 3.8% gain to a new high of $ 390.01 per share. Since the beginning of 2021, UnitedHealth shares are up 11.22%, up 38.46% over the past 12 months.
In the first quarter, UnitedHealth’s profit rose 43% (yoy) to $ 5.31 per share, above the analyst average of $ 4.37. Net income for the quarter was $ 4.9 billion, up from $ 3.4 billion a year earlier.
UnitedHealth’s revenue grew by 9% to $ 70.2 billion, which is higher than analytical estimates of $ 69.3 billion. UnitedHealth quarterly revenue and profit statistics for the last 2 years are available here.
In the first quarter of 2021, the number of people served by UnitedHealthcare has grown by over 1 million since the end of 2020. UnitedHealth currently serves 49.5 million customers, or more than 15% of the US population.
Optum’s revenue in the first quarter rose 10.8% to $ 36.4 billion.
In a press release, UnitedHealth indicated that customer requests for treatment and testing for COVID-19 were higher than expected during the quarter, with Americans increasingly delaying planned treatment. UnitedHealth Group’s insurance services also include COVID-19 vaccinations.
The company said it expects the number of health care requests to grow over the course of the year.
UnitedHealth raised its full-year 2021 net income forecast from $ 17.15 – $ 17.65 to $ 18.10 – $ 18.60 per share, which includes an estimated $ 1.80 negative impact due to the ongoing pandemic and testing and treatment costs as well as the potential impact of delayed treatment in 2020, unemployment and other economic factors.
UnitedHealth reported that in the first quarter of 2021, the medical loss rate (MLR) – the percentage of insurance premiums for medical services – was 80.9%, up from 81.0% in the first quarter of 2020.
Wall Street analysts give 28 buy recommendations for UnitedHealth, one outperform and six hold, with an average target price of $ 409, giving 5% upside potential.