The nation's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., reported a 23% increase in third-quarter profit on the strength of continued growth in its Medicare and Medicaid businesses.
The Minnetonka, Minn., company raised its full-year earnings forecast and said overall medical costs among its customers remained largely in check. UnitedHealth is the first major health insurer to report third-quarter results, and it often sets the tone for the industry.
UnitedHealth said net income for the quarter ending Sept. 30 was $1.56 billion, or $1.50 a share, compared with $1.27 billion, or $1.17 a share, for the same period a year ago. Revenue in the quarter grew 8% to $27.3 billion.
The company boosted its 2012 outlook to $5.20 to $5.25 a share, up from $4.90 to $5 previously. Shares of UnitedHealth were up 12 cents to $57.61 in midday trading Tuesday.