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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH)

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  • Mar. 25, 2014, 8:14 AM
    • A number of states that operate health-insurance exchanges could allow consumers to buy coverage for 2014 after next Monday's deadline.
    • Part of the reason is that some states are sill suffering technical problems, including Nevada and Oregon.
    • The new extensions would follow the massive delays and technical problems that hit the launch of Obamacare late last year.
    • The federal government hasn't yet said whether those purchasing plans on its Web site will receive more time.
    • Consumers who don't buy coverage for next year face fines of $95 or 1% of their incomes.
    • Meanwhile, insurers around the country are on a drive to sign people up.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Mar. 25, 2014, 8:14 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mar. 25, 2014, 3:15 AM
    • The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington is set to hear arguments today that Obamacare subsidies in the 36 states that haven't set up their own exchanges are illegal.
    • Plaintiff arguments hinge on the meaning of a directive that subsidies should go to income-qualified people enrolled in exchanges "established by the state."
    • So far judges have ruled that the federal government can provide subsidies to exchanges not created by individual states.
    • Still, if the government loses, says Ron Pollack of advocacy group Families USA, "the effort to expand insurance coverage in the vast majority of the states would pretty much be halted."
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Mar. 25, 2014, 3:15 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mar. 12, 2014, 9:17 AM
    • The government last week "quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty," the WSJ discovers after being alerted to a change buried deep in a technical bulletin.
    • Americans whose coverage was cancelled because of Obamacare are allowed to "opt out of the (individual) mandate altogether" until 2016 under certain conditions that seem to be fairly lax. That opt out was only supposed to last a year.
    • However, these people would have to enroll in catastrophic coverage, which was initially designed for the under-30s and "the truly down and out."
    • Meanwhile, 940,000 people signed up for Obamacare plans in February, bringing the total to 4.2M.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Mar. 12, 2014, 9:17 AM | 10 Comments
  • Mar. 11, 2014, 7:49 AM
    • The White House has dropped a proposal to permit insurers to limit Medicare coverage for certain types of pharmaceuticals, including drugs for depression and schizophrenia.
    • Medicare argued that the measure would have saved money, but the Administration ran into trouble with patients, drug firms and members of Congress from both parties.
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Mar. 11, 2014, 7:49 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mar. 6, 2014, 9:07 AM
    • As flagged, the White House has said consumers will be able to keep healthcare coverage that doesn't meet the standards laid down under Obamacare until October 2017 if their states permit it.
    • The plans were originally supposed to have been canceled at the end of last year, but were given a reprieve following an uproar.
    • The latest extension prevents a new set of cancellations before the mid-term elections later this year.
    • More on Obamcare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Mar. 6, 2014, 9:07 AM | 3 Comments
  • Mar. 5, 2014, 9:07 AM
    • The White House is set to allow consumers to extend health-insurance coverage that doesn't comply with Obamacare to beyond the end of this year, Reuters reports.
    • The government could even allow the plans to be lengthened for another three years, which would postpone any cancellations to after the 2016 presidential election.
    • Last autumn, insurers canceled coverage for millions of people because of the non-compliance of their plans, causing uproar and prompting President Obama to allow ineligible coverage for another year.
    • Insurers weren't happy about the original u-turn and might not be too pleased with the latest one, due to fears about the impact on risk profiles.
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH .ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Mar. 5, 2014, 9:07 AM | Comment!
  • Feb. 24, 2014, 12:35 PM
    • Humana (HUM +9.4%) surges to new 52-week highs after saying proposed rate cuts to Medicare Advantage plans weren't as bad as expected.
    • Health insurers who run Medicare Advantage face a 3.55% base payment cut next year, the U.S. government said late Friday; HUM now estimates the final reduction will be 3.5%-4% after projecting a 6%-7% reduction during its Q4 conference call earlier this month.
    • “Although we still believe rate pressure of this magnitude will present a significant challenge to the company/industry, it is certainly much better” than previous estimates, a Susquehanna analyst says.
    • Among the five largest publicly traded health insurance carriers, Medicare accounted for ~30% of earnings last year, Goldman Sachs says, with HUM and UnitedHealth (UNH +2.7%) the biggest players in the Advantage program.
    • Other insurers: WLP +3.7%, HNT +3.5%, WCG +1.5%.
    • Hospital stocks also are gaining: THC +3.1%, UHS +1.5%.
    | Feb. 24, 2014, 12:35 PM | Comment!
  • Feb. 23, 2014, 4:14 AM
    • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed cutting 2015 base payment rates for the Medicare Advantage program for senior citizens by 3.55%.
    • The proposal is subject to negotiations, with a final decision due in April.
    • "The final cut may be bigger, as the proposed rate doesn't take into account adjustments required by the Affordable Care Act," says Bloomberg Industries analyst Michael Manns.
    • Last year, the government increased 2014 base payments by 3.3% after initially proposing a 2.2% fall, although actual payments are falling 6.7% due to a new Obamacare tax and sequestration.
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | Feb. 23, 2014, 4:14 AM | 10 Comments
  • Feb. 13, 2014, 7:22 AM
    • UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) declares $0.28/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 1.59%
    • Payable March 25; for shareholders of record March 14; ex-div March 12.
    | Feb. 13, 2014, 7:22 AM | Comment!
  • Jan. 19, 2014, 2:20 AM
    • At least two thirds of the 2.2M people who purchased health insurance from exchanges under Obamacare through December 28 already had coverage, preliminary surveys indicate.
    • In a McKinsey study, just 11% of people didn't have insurance previously. Affordability and technical problems were among the reasons why people didn't buy plans.
    • Around 48M Americans didn't have health insurance in 2012; Obamacare is expected to reduce that figure by 25M.
    • Meanwhile, the government is delaying yet another provision of the Affordable Care Act - one that prevents employers from offering better health benefits to senior management than to other staff. The reason is that tax officials haven't yet issued the regulations that companies need to abide by.
    • More on Obamacare.
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFS: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | Jan. 19, 2014, 2:20 AM | 108 Comments
  • Jan. 16, 2014, 9:42 AM
    • UnitedHealth (UNH -2.1%) CEO Stephen Hemsley says Obamacare and medicare funding cuts will divert $1.50 a share from 2014 earnings.
    • However, the company plans to offset these costs, and grow earnings and revenue this year,
    • UnitedHealth will "focus on delivering" growth in 2015 but the company's performance partly depends on private Medicare rates.
    • However, Hemsley does sees growth from ACA through an expansion of Medicaid.
    • UnitedHealth Q4 earnings
    | Jan. 16, 2014, 9:42 AM | 4 Comments
  • Jan. 16, 2014, 7:17 AM
    • UnitedHealth (UNH) net profit +15% to $1.43B
    • Revenue breakdown: insurance +7.3% to $28.81B, Optum IT health-services +35% to $10.2B.
    • Consolidated medical-care ratio, which reflects the proportion of insurance premiums used for patient care, increased to 81.2% from 80.5% a year earlier.
    • Number of people served rose to 88.2M from 83.7M a year ago but was down from 89.7M in Q3.
    • Total operating costs +7.5% to $28.67B.
    • Shares +4.2%. (PR)
    | Jan. 16, 2014, 7:17 AM | Comment!
  • Jan. 16, 2014, 6:07 AM
    • UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH): Q4 EPS of $1.41 beats by $0.01.
    • Revenue of $31.1B (+8.1% Y/Y) in-line.
    • Press Release
    | Jan. 16, 2014, 6:07 AM | Comment!
  • Jan. 16, 2014, 12:05 AM
  • Jan. 15, 2014, 5:30 PM
  • Jan. 14, 2014, 4:24 AM
    • Just 30% of the people who have bought insurance under Obamacare are aged 34 or younger, while a third are 55 or older, a government report says.
    • That's a problem because the success of the Affordable Care Act hinges on signing up enough "young invincibles," who would need less care, in order to pay for the sick and elderly. The White House was banking on 40% of signups being aged 34 or less.
    • If the numbers don't balance out as needed, premiums could rise. Moreover, health insurers have until May to decide whether they will keep providing exchange plans in 2015.
    • Around 2.2M people bought coverage in the three months through December, 79% of whom received a discount due to federal subsidies.
    • More on Obamacare.
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFS: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | Jan. 14, 2014, 4:24 AM | 5 Comments
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Company Description
UnitedHealth Group Inc designs products, provides services and applies technologies that improve access to health and well-being services, simplify the health care experience and make health care more affordable.
Sector: Healthcare
Country: United States