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UnitedHealth’s Profit Declines as Patients Seek Deferred Care

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By Mitch Phillips Reuters Posted July 25, 2021 7:56 pm Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+

More people who deferred medical care during the pandemic are heading back to their doctors, UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Thursday, citing a trend that weighed on the company’s profits in the latest quarter compared with a year ago.

Revenue climbed over the last three months as the company’s insurance business and its health-services’ arm both grew to serve more people. But the company’s earnings fell due to higher medical expenses, as patients sought medical care that they had delayed during the pandemic.

The Minnetonka, Minn.-based health insurer posted a quarterly profit of $4.46 a share, down from $6.91 a share in the prior-year period. Revenue climbed to $71.32 billion, from $62.14 billion in the second quarter of 2020.

For the UnitedHealthcare insurance business, revenue climbed 13% year-over-year, benefiting from growth in people covered in the company’s community and seniors programs. But the insurance business’s operating earnings fell by more than half, as revenue growth was offset by people seeking deferred medical care.

The company’s medical-care ratio—a measure of the proportion of premiums paid out for medical care—rose to about 83%, compared with about 70% a year ago. Overall medical costs rose to $46.55 billion, up by more than a third year-over-year.

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