MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) — UnitedHealth Group Inc. trimmed its profit outlook slightly for next year when the nation’s largest health insurer will face a reinstated federal health insurance tax.
The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based insurer said Monday that it expects to earn between $10 and $10.30 per share, or between $10.55 and $10.85 per share when one-time items are excluded.
Analysts were expecting, on average, adjusted earnings of $10.82 per share next year from UnitedHealth, according to FactSet. That would represent 8.3 percent growth from the average Wall Street forecast for 2017 earnings of $9.99 per share.
Analysts also forecast $219.06 billion in revenue next year. The company said it expects revenue between $223 billion and $225 billion next year.
The company’s new CEO David Wichmann said last month that UnitedHealth’s 2018 earnings per share should fall within a long-term growth range of 13 to 16 percent excluding the tax change. UnitedHealth and other insurers will take a hit next year when a pause in the federal government’s health insurance tax ends.
At the time, Wichmann said UnitedHealth expected adjusted earnings per share range with the top end around the $10.88 that analysts expected then.
UnitedHealth shares topped $200 for the first time this year and have set several new all-time highs. Shares of UnitedHealth, a Dow Jones industrial average component, closed Monday at $212.40. They declined $2.65, or 1.3 percent, to $209.75 in after-hours trading.
The stock price has climbed about 33 percent so far this year. That’s twice the growth seen by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
UnitedHealth covers around 49 million people as the nation’s largest health insurer. That business includes employer-sponsored coverage and a big presence in the market for Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run versions of the government’s Medicare program for the elderly and disabled people. UnitedHealth also has been growing its Optum segment, which operates one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management businesses. It also provides technology services and runs clinics and doctor’s offices.
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