Second-quarter earnings at UnitedHealth Group jumped 36% on strength across its health insurance businesses, and the company today raised its guidance for the second time this year.
UnitedHealth now expects full-year earnings of $3.79 to $3.82 a share, up from a high end of $3.78 predicted in April. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting $3.79.
For its second quarter, UnitedHealth earned $596 million, or 93 cents per share, up from $439 million, or 71 cents per share, last year. Analysts expected 92 cents per share. Revenues rose 23 percent to $8.7 billion, up from $7.09 billion last year.
Revenues for health-care services, the company's largest segment, grew 24% to $7.6 billion in the second quarter of 2004. That included $5 billion in revenues from UnitedHealthcare insurance, up 31% from the previous year.
For the quarter ending June 30, UnitedHealthcare, which offers consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services for individuals and small and mid-sized employers, served 9.3 million people, an increase of 1.5 million people.
For the year to date, the company earned $1.15 billion, or $1.81 per share, on revenues of $16.8 billion. The earnings were up 37% from the same period last year.
The company's full-year projection excludes gains from the planned merger with Oxford Health Plans. The merger is expected to add 4 cents per share per quarter once it closes.
Trumbull, Conn.-based Oxford provides health insurance services for approximately 1.5 million people, mostly in New York City, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. UnitedHealth, based in Minnetonka, Minn., serves about 20.2 million customers through all of its business groups.