UnitedHealth Group, Minneapolis, said its operating margin improved to 10% in the second quarter, up from 8.6% in the year-ago quarter. The managed-care company said it is experiencing "strong new business sales" for 2004 and predicted 34% growth in earnings per share for the full year. UnitedHealth posted a 36% increase in operating earnings to $709 million in the second quarter ended June 30, while revenue grew 17% to $7.1 billion. The company said commercial enrollment was flat as growth was offset by employment attrition due to the weak economy, but enrollment grew in the company's Medicare supplement program and its Medicaid HMO, AmeriChoice. Its medical loss ratio -- the percent of premium revenue spent on medical claims -- was 80.7%, compared with 81.6% in the year-ago quarter. -- by Mary Chris Jaklevic
UnitedHealth reports 36% higher operating profit
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