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UnitedHealth says first-quarter profit fell on reform costs

(Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc <UNH.N>, the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday that first-quarter profit fell on costs and taxes related to the national healthcare reform law as well as government cuts to private Medicare funding.

Health insurers Aetna, WellPoint, bulk up executive pay to keep, attract their CEOs

Health insurers enjoyed a boom year in 2013, with soaring earnings and stock prices, and some of the biggest companies shelled out millions of dollars to either keep or attract their leaders.

Costs of Medco purchase, loss of UnitedHealth business hurt Express Scripts 4th-qtr profit

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Express Scripts, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager, said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income slipped, hurt by the loss of UnitedHealth, a large customer. Charges related to its $29.1 billion purchase of Medco Health Solutions in 2012 and other expenses also weighed on profit. Pharmacy benefits managers run prescription drug plans for employers, insurers and other customers. They process mail-order prescriptions and handle bills for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies. Express Scripts fills more than a billion prescriptions a year.

Big deal helps insurer Aetna's 4th-quarter profit soar 94 pct; result misses expectations

Aetna Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled, thanks in part to a $6.9 billion acquisition, but the nation's third largest health insurer missed Wall Street's earnings expectations. The Hartford, Conn., company also reaffirmed a 2014 forecast for earnings that could fall below analyst predictions. Its shares were little changed in premarket trading Thursday.

WellPoint says health exchange applicants hit expectations

By Caroline Humer (Reuters) - U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc said on Wednesday the applicants for the new Obamacare health plans are of the age and demographics it had expected, indicating that medical costs will not soar beyond the prices it charges. WellPoint, which released lower fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, said that based on age, insurance plan selection, income levels, gender and available pharmacy data, it believes it has set the right premium rates for these new customers.

Insurer UnitedHealth's 4th-quarter profit climbs 15 per cent, helped by enrolment, Optum gains

UnitedHealth Group's fourth-quarter earnings jumped 15 per cent to edge above expectations, as the nation's largest health insurer added millions of customers and booked a sizeable gain from a business that doesn't sell insurance. But the Minnetonka, Minn., company's shares slipped deeper than the broader market after UnitedHealth became the first health insurer to detail how 2013 ended and discuss challenges that await in the new year.

UnitedHealth says quarterly profit rose, sees 2014 growth

(Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, on Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and the addition of 170,000 members, and said 2014 earnings would improve as well. The fourth quarter marked the beginning of sales of new individual plans created under the national healthcare reform law often called Obamacare, coverage which went into effect for the first customers on January 1.

Aetna says private Medicare sign-ups better than expected

(Reuters) - Aetna Inc said on Tuesday that based on sign-ups for private Medicare, its first-quarter membership for these health plans for seniors would be "meaningfully better" than previously projected. The company, the nation's third-largest insurer, said it now expects full year 2014 operating revenue of at least $54 billion compared with its previous projection of about $53 billion.

Insurers push Obamacare payment deadline to late January

By Caroline Humer NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some top U.S. health insurers are giving consumers more time to pay their Obamacare premiums, extending the deadline to the end of January for benefits that begin retroactively from January 1. The new extension adds to a series of deadline delays by government and the insurance industry to compensate for technical failures and errors plaguing the enrollment process under President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

U.S. hospital shares rally as investors see reform boost

(Reuters) - Hospital shares climbed on Tuesday as investors focused on expectations that patients newly insured under the Affordable Care Act will make plans for doctor visits in 2014. Hospitals have been expected to get a boost in business from the healthcare reform law, but a slow signup on the new insurance exchanges muddied the outlook.
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