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[COMMENTARY] Trump’s America: UnitedHealth Group Earns Record Profit Despite Coronavirus

UnitedHealth Group, the largest healthcare company in the world by revenue, posted its best quarterly earnings in history despite the United States seeing 138,000+ coronavirus deaths during the pandemic. UnitedHealth, which consistently posted earnings around $3 per share from Q3 2018 to Q1 2020, earned $6.91 per share in the most recent quarter, per Charles Schwab.

The company’s profit improved to $6.6 billion in Q2 after earning $3.4 billion in the previous quarter. How in the world does one of the most profitable companies in the country almost double its profits amid the coronavirus pandemic while everyday people can’t afford to pay bills?

UnitedHealth Group increases quarterly profit by more than $3 billion while American lives look like this:

“The number one cause of personal bankruptcy is our industry,” said Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison via Axios. “We have an absolute responsibility to make health care as affordable as possible.”

Yet, major companies are continuing to become richer and pat their bottom lines at the expense of the American people.


For more on why UnitedHealth’s profits skyrocketed amid the coronavirus, here are some wonderful excerpts from Axios’s Bob Herman:

Why it matters: Most companies struggled in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic froze the economy, but health insurers like UnitedHealth heavily benefited as people held off on going to the doctor or hospital, resulting in fewer medical claims that needed to be paid.

The big picture: The jump in profits exceeded Wall Street’s predictions, and was heavily driven by UnitedHealth’s insurance division.

  • The operating margin in the second quarter for UnitedHealthcare was 14.3% vs. 6.8% for Optum, which is the division of the company that runs doctors’ practices, technology, consulting and pharmacy benefits.

Zoom in: UnitedHealth’s “medical loss ratio” in the quarter was 70.2% compared with 83.1% during the same time last year — meaning UnitedHealth paid out just 70 cents in medical claims for every dollar it received in premiums.

About Ryan Lipton

Ryan is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business Journalism. He has written in the past for SB Nation’s Silver and Black Pride, USA Today Sports Media Group, North Carolina Business News Wire, the Daily Tar Heel, and has worked with Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league. Ryan is also a regular contributor to MeidasTouch.com

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