UnitedHealth Group beats the Street with $4.9B in Q1 profit

UnitedHealth Group posted $4.9 billion in profit for the first quarter of 2021, up from $3.4 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Revenues were also up by 9% compared to Q1 2020, according to the company’s earnings report released Thursday, hitting $70.2 billion. Revenues in the first quarter of 2020 were $64.4 billion.

The results topped Zacks Investment Research projections for both earnings and revenue.

UnitedHealth Group said it saw “balanced” growth across its UnitedHealthcare and Optum business segments.

“The unique combined capabilities of Optum and UnitedHealthcare and the unwavering commitment of our people continue to help advance the way care is delivered, improving results for those we serve and shareholders,” said Andrew Witty, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group.

RELATED: UnitedHealth Group CEO Wichmann to retire, Optum chief Witty named successor

In the first quarter, UnitedHealthcare added more than 1 million customers, according to the report. Revenues grew by 7.9% year-over-year, reaching $55.1 billion compared to $51.1 billion in Q1 2020.

UnitedHealth said that growth was led by its community and senior programs. Medicare Advantage has been a key expansion target for many big-name insurers, including UHC.

Optum recorded another quarter of double-digit revenue growth, hitting $36.4 billion compared to $32.8 billion in the prior year quarter, or growth of 10.8%.

The company’s OptumHealth segment continues to be a significant area of growth, according to the earnings report, with revenue per customer served up 31% in the first quarter. OptumHealth served 99 million customers in Q1, an increase of 3 million from the first quarter of 2020.

Due to the first-quarter results, UnitedHealth Group is raising its earnings guidance for the year to between $18.10 and $18.60 per share, with $1.80 in net unfavorable impact possible due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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