UnitedHealth's quarterly profit beats estimates

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, raised its earnings forecast for the year and posted a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street estimates, helped by strength across its businesses.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work at the post where UnitedHealth Group is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The company raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast to a range of $ 12.40 to $ 12.65 per share from a range of $ 12.30 to $ 12.60 per share.

Net earnings attributable to shareholders rose to $ 2.84 billion, or $ 2.87 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $ 2.17 billion, or $ 2.23 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $ 3.04 per share.

Total revenue rose 13.3 percent to $ 55.19 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $ 2.89 per share on revenue of $ 54.86 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s medical care ratio, or the percentage of premiums paid out for medical services, improved to 81.4 percent in the quarter from 82.4 percent last year.

A lower medical care ratio percentage is better for insurers.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva

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