Individual health insurance premiums seem to be moving higher.
Executives at UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) gave that assessment today during a conference call the company organized to go over third-quarter earnings with securities analysts.
The company is reporting $1.6 billion in net income for the quarter on $41 billion in revenue, compared with $1.6 billion in net income on $33 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2014.
The UnitedHealthcare commercial health insurance unit reported $1.9 billion in operating earnings for the latest quarter on $33 billion in revenue, compared with $2 billion in operating earnings on $30 billion in revenue for the year-earlier quarter.
The health insurance unit ended the quarter providing or administering major medical coverage for 46 million people, up from 45 million a year earlier, but its operating profit margin fell to 5.7 percent, from 6.8 percent.
“A continuing market trend toward lower price point products, including public exchange offerings” put pressure on health insurance revenue and profit margins, the company said in an earnings announcement.
The company held back from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange system in 2014 but jumped into the market this year. It now has about 550,000 exchange qualified health plan (QHP) enrollees.
The company expects to sell products through the exchange system in 11 additional states in 2016, the company said.