UnitedHealth: A Pleasant Surprise

UnitedHealth Group is one company that relies on the big business of Medicare. It’s also the biggest player in this arena with a market cap of nearly $60 billion.

Yesterday, UnitedHealth released strong third-quarter numbers, reporting a 23% increase in earnrnings.

The insurer faces a stiff headwind – rising costs that were 6% higher this quarter. Yet it still managed to grow revenue by 8%. How’d it do that?

Well, enrollment in the Medicare Advantage program rose a staggering 18%. That helped UnitedHealth capture 13% higher revenues from Medicare than last year.

Here’s a look at United’s strong stock performance since bottoming in 2009:

2009 stock performance

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For now, all things seem positive for this space in the market… and for United. But as Rodney says, “How long can a fundamentally unsustainable situation last?”

Perhaps we’ll know more about the future of Medicare, and Social Security, once the Presidential election is decided in less than a month…