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UnitedHealth Raises Quarterly Dividend 30 Percent

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

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MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) — UnitedHealth Group says it will raise its quarterly dividend 30 percent to 16.25 cents starting in June, about a year after it became the first large health insurer to start rewarding shareholders with a quarterly payout.

The Minnetonka, Minn., insurer says the dividend increase and a share buyback program reflect continued growth in both its benefits and services businesses.

Competitors WellPoint, Aetna and Humana also have launched quarterly dividend payments this year, after strong financial performances gave them a growing supply of cash to spend after stocking reserves for claims. Insurers have been helped in part by health care use that has grown at a slower-than-expected rate.

Last May, UnitedHealth became the first big insurer to announce a new quarterly dividend, when it launched a 12.5-cent payment.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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