UnitedHealth Group Inc. is looking forward to the birth of the new Medicare drug plan.[@@]
The Minnetonka, Minn., managed care company is reporting $809 million in net income for the second quarter on $11 billion in revenue, up from $596 million in net income on $8.7 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2004.
The company ended the quarter providing or administer health coverage for 23 million U.S. residents, up from 20 million a year earlier.
In recent years, many managed care companies have boasted about their lack of involvement with the struggling Medicare managed care plan program.
But the laws and regulations governing the program have changed dramatically. The government has relaxed pricing restrictions, lowered barriers that once discouraged preferred provider organization plans from entering the Medicare managed care program, and added a Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Dr. William McGuire, UnitedHealth’s chairman, said today during a conference call that the company will be spending $75 million and hiring 600 people to get ready for the new Medicare prescription benefit program when it becomes available in 2006.