NU Online News Service, Jan. 20, 2005, 3:39 p.m. EST

Acquisitions and strong sales helped a Minnetonka, Minn., managed care giant increase net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2004 by 47%.[@@]

The company, UnitedHealth Group Inc., is reporting $739 million in net income for the latest quarter on $10.5 billion in revenue, up from $507 million in net income on $7.5 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2003.

The company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 12.6 million people, up from 9.6 million people a year earlier.

The acquisition of Oxford Health Plans Inc., Trumbull, Conn., accounted for some of the growth in enrollment and earnings, but “same store” enrollment, or enrollment at health plans UnitedHealth has owned for more than a year, grew by 245,000, UnitedHealth says.