UnitedHealth profits grow with retreat from Obamacare

UnitedHealth profits grow with retreat from Obamacare

NEW YORK: UnitedHealth Group reported strong profits and boosted its earnings forecast on Tuesday helped by its controversial pullout from the Obamacare health insurance programme.Shares of the largest US health insurer and health benefits manager led the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher, jumping nearly six per cent on its third quarter earnings and a strong outlook 2017.UnitedHealth scored gains across the business, with increases in both employer-based health programmes and those run through the US government Medicaid and Medicare programmes.Revenues also rose in its Optum health services business, which employs data analytics to serve employers, governments and other parties.”Our growth indicators are positive as we conclude 2016, and we expect to be well positioned in 2017 to better serve consumers and deliver more value to the health system overall,” said chief executive Stephen Hemsley.Net profit was up 23.2 per cent to US$2.0 billion compared with the year-ago level. Revenues rose 11.6 per cent to US$46.3 billion.UnitedHealth made waves in April, when it announced it would drop out of most the state exchanges for individual insurance policies created under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reforms, because the policies were unprofitable.At the time, executives from the insurer said it could lose up to US$650 million in the exchanges. Some health care policy experts at the time said UnitedHealth’s pullback reflected failures in how it structured its program rather…

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