Health insurer UnitedHealth profit slumps 36% as medical costs normalize


FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of the UnitedHealth Group appears on the side of one of their office buildings in Santa Ana, California, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

July 15, 2021

(Reuters) -UnitedHealth Group Inc reported a 35.7% fall in quarterly profit on Thursday, as a recovery in pandemic-induced slowdown in elective medical care normalized costs for the largest U.S. health insurer.

For the quarter ended June 30, the industry bellwether reported a medical loss ratio – the percentage of collected premiums spent on medical services – of 82.8%, compared with 70.2% a year earlier, when patients put off non-urgent care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly half of all Americans have been fully vaccinated according to latest government data and daily new COVID-19 cases ebbed in May and June, encouraging people to return to doctors’ offices for routine, non-elective medical care.

Net earnings attributable to UnitedHealth’s shareholders fell to $4.27 billion, or $4.46 per share in the quarter, from $6.64 billion, or $6.91 per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Anshuman Daga and Shinjini Ganguli)

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