UnitedHealth hikes 2019 forecast after strong third quarter

UnitedHealth Group, the largest health insurance provider in the nation, raised its stock outlook Tuesday after a successful third quarter, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news source, the company now expects earnings of between $14.90 and $15 per share for the year — an increase from its prediction in July.

One of the reasons for the heightened projections was OptumHealth, UnitedHealth’s pharmaceutical wing. The pharmacy benefit manager saw its revenue jump 34 percent to $8.1 billion in the quarter.

While UnitedHealth’s medical expenses grew 8 percent ($39 billion), the company’s earnings increased 11 percent in the quarter to $3.54 billion.

Total revenue also came in higher than projections, growing 7 percent to $60.35 billion.

Shares of the company have grown approximately 2 percent, although for the year, UnitedHealth’s stock has fallen almost 11 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average, of which UnitedHealth is a part, is up 15 percent on the year.

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