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UnitedHealth tops earnings estimates, raises 2018 forecast

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By Reuters
UnitedHealth tops earnings estimates, raises 2018 forecast
FILE PHOTO: Traders work at the post where UnitedHealth Group is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo   -   Copyright  Brendan McDermid(Reuters)

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc <UNH.N> added more members to its health plans in the third quarter, helping it to post a profit well above Wall Street estimates and boost its earnings forecast for the year.

The largest U.S. health insurer said it now expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to approach $12.80, compared with its prior forecast of between $12.50 and $12.75.

While other health players including CVS Health <CVS.N>, Aetna Inc <AET.N> and Cigna Corp <CI.N> are embarking on major merger deals, UnitedHealth has doubled down on a strategy of reining in costs and expanding its medical services group.

UnitedHealth’s insurance business added 2.8 million more members year-over-year in the third quarter and raked in revenue of $45.94 billion, 12.8 percent higher than last year.

Net earnings attributable to shareholders rose 28 percent to $3.19 billion, or $3.24 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Excluding items, the company earned $3.41 per share.

Total revenue rose 12.4 percent to $56.56 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $3.29 per share on revenue of $56.34 billion, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)