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UnitedHealth execs skimp on PPACA details

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Executives at UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) said little today about the company’s new public exchange program as they reviewed first-quarter earnings.

The company now has 570,000 exchange qualified health plan (QHP) enrollees.

Dave Wichmann, president of the company’s UnitedHealthcare unit, said during a conference call with securities analysts that the number of QHP enrollees is “well ahead of our earnings outlook.”

But Wichmann and other executives who participated in the call said nothing about the demographics of the QHP enrollees, early claims experience, or thoughts about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) risk-management programs.

UnitedHealth is selling QHP coverage through 23 PPACA exchanges this year, up from five in 2014.

See also: UnitedHealth still optimistic about PPACA exchanges

“In our earnings outlook, and as we have said before, we do not expect meaningful financial contributions from these customers in 2015,” Wichmann said.

The company’s Optum health services unit runs a pharmacy benefits management (PBM) program, and many of the questions analysts asked focused on the unit’s proposed acquisition of a stand-alone PBM, Catamaran Corp.

UnitedHealth as a whole is reporting $1.4 billion in net income for the first quarter on $36 billion in revenue, up from $1.1 billion in net income on $32 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2014.

The company ended the quarter providing or administering medical coverage for 42 million people in the United States, and 4.2 million people in other countries. The number of U.S. enrollees rose from 40 million a year earlier. The number of non-U.S. enrollees was down from 4.7 million.

The UnitedHealthcare unit is reporting $1.9 billion in operating earnings for the latest quarter on $33 billion in revenue, up from $1.4 billion in operating earnings on $29 billion in revenue.


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