UnitedHealth Group, Minneapolis, reported a 47% increase in third-quarter net income thanks to membership gains, pricing and moderate medical-cost growth. The nation's largest health insurer earned $698 million, or $1.04 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, up from $476 million, or 77 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of $1 per share. Revenue rose 36% to $9.86 billion. Enrollment rose 9% year over year to 20 million members, largely because of the acquisition of 1.5 million-member Oxford Health Plans. UnitedHealth boosted its full-year earnings projections by 5 cents per share to $3.92 per share and predicted 2005 earnings per share of $4.70 to $4.75. -- by Laura B. Benko
UnitedHealth's income climbs with Oxford deal
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