Second-quarter earnings for the major health insurers should be healthy with few surprises, despite financial pressures from fees, rate cuts and higher drug costs, and the potential risk from a new population gaining coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
UnitedHealth Group, the bellwether for the health insurance market, as well as the largest health insurer in the country, reports its quarterly earnings July 17.
Three months ago, the Minnetonka, Minn.-based firm told its investors that first-quarter earnings had fallen 7.8% to $1.1 billion from $1.19 billion in the year-ago period. That came despite a 4.6% increase to its top-line revenue.
As the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans, UnitedHealth was more affected by the Affordable Care Act and sequestration funding cuts than some of its peers—costing it about 35 cents per share, according to company estimates. But UBS analyst A.J. Rice said he expects a more positive second quarter.