UnitedHealth Group Inc. headquarters stands in Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.
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UnitedHealth Group on Wednesday raised its annual profit forecast after its quarterly profit beat estimates, helped by growth in its Optum unit that manages drug benefits, and a slower-than-expected rebound in demand for deferred care.
Shares of the largest U.S. health insurer were up about 1% at $334.4 before the bell.
Large U.S. health insurers, including UnitedHealth, benefited from lower health care spending in the first half of the year, which more than offset pandemic-related additional costs.
The companies, however, signaled a rebound in demand for deferred services in May and June and projected higher medical costs for the second half of the year.
UnitedHealth reported a medical loss ratio (MLR) – the percentage of premiums paid out for medical services – of 81.9%, lower than last year’s 82.4% and analysts’ estimate of 83.55%,