The biggest for-profit health insurers continue to benefit from a low utilization trend among consumers, as most reported better-than-expected second quarter earnings.
UnitedHealth Group posted its second-quarter earnings Thursday, and it's clear the nation's largest for-profit health insurer continues to focus some of its efforts beyond the insurance business.
Amid speculation this week that Aetna may make an offer to acquire either Humana or Cigna, industry analysts note a variety of factors that must take place for such a deal to occur.
The five biggest insurers in the country are heading into a more stable future after their first quarter earnings reports show that they're all faring well financially in the post-reform market.
Although Aetna reported increased fourth quarter profits and Humana said its profits were lower than expected, both insurers have favorable outlooks for 2015--largely because of agreements they've reached with hepatitis c drug maker Gilead.
As insurers' stocks are hitting all-time highs, the nation's two largest insurers--UnitedHealth and Anthem--ended last year on a high note financially, with both reporting better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter last year.
Healthcare utilization increased last year because when consumers received cancellation letters, many rushed to seek care and treatments before they lost their health coverage, WellPoint said Wednesday when it announced its fourth-quarter earnings.
UnitedHealth Group today reported 2013 revenues of $122.5 billion, up 11 percent year-over-year, as well as double-digit percentage growth at each of its three major businesses.
Cigna reported strong growth in the third quarter, with both its revenue and membership increasing. Molina Healthcare also saw its profits and revenues increase, though its expenses did too.
WellPoint is optimistic that problems surrounding the health insurance exchanges will soon be resolved, but the insurer refused to disclose any figures related to exchange activity when it announced its third-quarter earnings report Wednesday.