REUTERS: UnitedHealth Group Inc beat analysts' estimates for quarterly profit and raised its 2019 earnings forecast on Tuesday, benefiting from strength in its core business of selling health plans and its pharmacy benefits unit.
Shares of the largest US health insurer rose 2 per cent in light premarket trading.
UnitedHealth raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast to between US$14.90 to US$15 per share, from an earlier forecast of between US$14.70 and US$14.90.
Revenue from the health insurance business rose 4.7 per cent to US$48.11 billion in the third quarter, while Optum, which includes the pharmacy benefits business, saw a 13.3 per cent jump to US$28.76 billion.
The company's medical care ratio, or the percentage of premiums paid out for medical services, was 82.4 per cent for the quarter, worsening from 81 per cent last year, but in line with the average analyst estimate.
Excluding items, UnitedHealth earned US$3.88 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of US$3.75, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net earnings attributable to shareholders rose to US$3.54 billion, or US$3.67 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, from US$3.19 billion, or US$3.24 per share, a year earlier.
Total revenue rose 6.7per cent to US$60.35 billion, beating estimates of US$59.79 billion.