UnitedHealth Group, Minneapolis, earned $1.83 billion, or $2.96 per share, in 2003, up about 35% from $1.35 billion, or $2.13 per share, in 2002. Revenue for the nation's largest health insurer rose 15% to $28.8 billion. The record earnings reflect continued premium increases and a slowing pace of medical-cost growth. In the fourth quarter, UnitedHealth saw its earnings jump 34% to $507 million, or 83 cents per share, compared with $379 million, or 60 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 13% to $7.52 billion. UnitedHealth boosted its 2004 per-share earnings outlook to between $3.70 and $3.73, up from a prior estimate of $3.61. -- by Laura B. Benko
UnitedHealth's 2003 earnings top $1.8 billion
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