UnitedHealth posts $3.4B profit; Optum CEO to take leave of absence

UnitedHealth Group ended the first quarter of 2020 with a $3.4 billion profit, according to financial results released April 15.

UnitedHealth said its first-quarter results "reflect minimal impact from the progression of the COVID-19 virus across the U.S." as coverage expansions and funding initiatives largely took place at the back end of the quarter. UnitedHealth committed to accelerating payments to providers and funding other initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first quarter of this year, UnitedHealth saw overall revenue grow 6.8 percent year over year to $64.4 billion, which the company said reflected growth in its Optum and UnitedHealthcare businesses. 

Optum continued its double-digit growth in revenue, posting $32.8 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2020, up 24.6 percent year over year. The segment, which includes a physician business and other health services, saw $2.1 billion in earnings from operations in the first quarter of 2020, up 12.2 percent year over year. 

UnitedHealthcare, the health insurance arm of the company, saw first-quarter revenues grow by 4.4 percent to $51.1 billion, primarily driven by growth in Medicare Advantage and dual special needs plans. The unit posted $2.9 billion in earnings from operations for the first quarter, similar to a year prior.

Separately, UnitedHealth announced that UnitedHealth President and Optum CEO Sir Andrew Witty will be taking a leave of absence to help lead the World Health Organization's COVID-19 vaccine initiative. He is slated to return to his positions after the assignment.

More articles on payers:
UnitedHealth fast-tracks $2B in payments to providers
Blue Shield of California company acquires 2,700-physician group
CMS requires insurers to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic, antibody testing

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