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UnitedHealth Kicks Off Insurer Earnings Season

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. said today it earned less in the fourth quarter of 2020 because of efforts to pay for COVID-19 testing and care, and because of other costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based health insurance and health care delivery company became the first life, health or annuity issuer to post its results for the quarter.

David Wichmann, UnitedHealth’s chief executive officer, started off the company’s earnings announcement by talking about the efforts of company employees to get customers and care providers through the pandemic.


“I couldn’t be prouder of the more than 325,000 women and men of this enterprise for their role in advancing a higher performing health system during these times of unprecedented challenges,” Wichmann said. “We are grateful for the human spirit and resolve of our people, including our 125,000 clinicians who, with other frontline health care workers, demonstrated extraordinary collaboration, compassion and innovation.”

UnitedHealth is reporting $2.4 billion in net income for the quarter on $65 billion in revenue, compared with $3.5 billion in net income on $61 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019.


The company ended providing or administering health coverage for 48.4 million people, down from 49.1 million people a year earlier.

Here’s what happened to the number of people with key types of UnitedHealth health coverage between the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 and the end of the latest quarter:

  • Risk-based: 7.9 million (down from 8.6 million)
  • Fee-based: 18 million (down from 19 million)
  • TOTAL COMMERCIAL: 26 million (down from 28 million)
  • Medicare Advantage: 5.7 million (up from 5.3 million)
  • Medicaid: 6.6 million (up from 5.9 million)
  • Medicare Supplement (Standardized): 4.45 million (down from 4.5 million)
  • TOTAL PUBLIC AND SENIOR: 17 million (up from 16 million)
  • TOTAL DOMESTIC MEDICAL: 43 million (down from 43.4 million)
  • International: 5.4 million (down from 5.7 million)

— Read 5 Things UnitedHealth Is Saying About a Really, Really Strange Quarteron ThinkAdvisor.

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