Here's what happened to UnitedHealth's health coverage enrollment, in six different market segments...

 

(Photo: Jim Mone/AP)

1. Individual major medical

Q3 lives: 495,000

Change from Q3 2017: -4%

2. Fully insured group plans

Q3 lives: 8 million

Change from Q3 2017: +2%

3. Administration services for self-insured plans

Q3 lives: 18 million

Change from Q3 2017: -1%

4. Medicare Advantage

Q3 lives: 4.9

Change from Q3 2017: +12%

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5. Medicare supplement

Q3 lives: 4.5 million

Change from Q3 2017: +3%

6. International

Q3 lives: 6.1 million

Change from Q3 2017: +49%

(Photo: NASA)

(Related: Average State Medicare Advantage Plan Costs for 2019)

For UnitedHealth Group Inc., the big growth opportunities have been in the safe spaces outside of the U.S. health insurance policy wrestling arena.

The Minnetonka-based company is reporting $3.3 billion in net income for the latest quarter on $57 billion in revenue, compared with $2.6 billion in net income on $50 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2017.

Health Coverage Enrollment Details

For UnitedHealth health coverage enrollment details, see the data cards in the slideshow above.

Takeaways

Here are three points in the company’s third-quarter earnings announcement that might interest agents.

1. UnitedHealth is not exactly  a health insurance company.

UnitedHealth’s UnitedHealthcare unit may provide or administer health coverage for 49 million, and it may be the biggest private-sector source of health coverage in the United States, but the only places in the earnings announcement in which UnitedHealth uses the terms “insurance” or “coverage” are in negative contexts.

UnitedHealth refers to the “health insurance tax” when referring to the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurer fee, and it refers to “coverage requirements” when it mentions state and federal benefits rules.

UnitedHealth actually calls itself “a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone.”

2. Medicare Advantage plan enrollment grew a lot.

Just 17 years ago, insurers were fleeing from the old version of the private Medicare plan program, the Medicare+Choice program, as fast as they could file the withdrawal filings. Tougher reimbursement policies scared off many players.

Today, companies like UnitedHealth see the Medicare Advantage market as a great place to write business.

The company increased its Medicare Advantage plan enrollment to 4.9 million, up 12% from the total for the third quarter of 2017.

Enrollment in group plans, meanwhile, was up just a little for fully insured coverage, and down slightly for administration arrangements with self-insured plans.

3. Health insurance enrollment outside the United States grew a lot.

UnitedHealth’s international medical insurance enrollment increased 49% between the third quarter of 2017 and the latest quarter, to 6.1 million.

The increase was largely due to UnitedHealth’s acquisition of Empresas Banmédica, a health insurer in Chile. Empresas Banmédica has about 2.1 million health insurance enrollees.

Resources

More information about UnitedHealth’s third-quarter results is available here.

— Read LTC Benefits Creep Into 2019 Medicare Advantage Planson ThinkAdvisor.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on LinkedIn and Twitter.