Insurer UnitedHealth raises 2021 profit view on Optum strength

July 15 (Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) on Thursday raised its full-year earnings target for the second time this year, after a strong performance mainly in its Optum unit helped the largest U.S. health insurer beat quarterly profit expectations.

The unit, which manages drug benefits and offers healthcare data analytics services, has been helping the company withstand fluctuations in its core health insurance business due to pandemic-induced changes in patients’ use of medical services.

Spending on medical services at the company’s health insurance business, UnitedHealthcare, rebounded in the latter part of last year due to COVID-19 testing and treatment-related customer assistance measures, after patients and hospitals had delayed care at the height of the pandemic.

For the quarter ended June 30, the company reported a medical loss ratio – the percentage of premiums spent on medical services – of 82.8%, compared with 70.2% a year earlier….

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