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Q1 profit at largest US health insurer beats estimates


UNITEDHEALTH Group Inc, the largest US 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.

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

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

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Excluding items, the company earned US$3.04 per share.

Total revenue rose 13.3 per cent to US$55.19 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of US$2.89 per share on revenue of US$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 per cent in the quarter from 82.4 per cent last year.

A lower medical care ratio percentage is better for insurers. REUTERS