Fully insured commercial group health enrollment is still growing at UnitedHealth Group Inc. partly because of the way the company works with distributors, a company executive said today.
Jeff Alter, chief executive for the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company’s UnitedHealthcare employer and individual business unit, talked a little about the company’s group health sales strategy as the company went over second-quarter earnings with securities analysts.
UnitedHealth as a whole is reporting $2.4 billion in net income for the second quarter on $50 billion in revenue, compared with $1.8 billion in net income on $46 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2016.
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The company ended the quarter providing or administering major medical coverage for 49.5 million people, up from 48 million people a year earlier.
Commercial employer and individual health revenue fell to $13 billion, from $13.5 billion.
Commercial individual enrollment fell to 540,000, from 1.5 million, because of the company’s retreat from the Affordable Care Act public exchange market. Commercial group insurance plan enrollment increased to 7.8 million, from 7.2 million.
The Affordable Care Act
Stephen Hemsley, UnitedHealth’s CEO, began cooling on the Affordable Care Act public health insurance exchange system in late 2015. During the conference call, he took pains to emphasize that the company is now focusing on activities such as helping self-insured employer health plans and public health programs control their own health care costs.
“UnitedHealth Group is a difference organization than it was just 10 years ago,” Hemsley said.
UnitedHealth believes company-specific factors, such as its ability to control health care costs and keep existing clients happy, will provide helpful tailwinds in 2018, Hemsley said.
The unhelpful headwinds are largely the result of external factors, such as policymakers’ discussions in Washington, Hemsley said.
“Speculation about any outcomes here would just be that,” Hemsley said.