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UnitedHealth Results Look Good for Insurers, But Bleak for Hospitals

  • Measure of spending on health care drops from last year
  • Plenty of room for growth in Optum Health, executive says
Updated on

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s second-quarter results were lifted by lower costs of care that portend well for other health insurers but may be a warning sign for hospital companies.

Medical-loss ratio, a closely watched measure of the percentage of premium income spent on patient care, came in at 81.5%, down from 82.8% a year ago and roughly a percentage point below the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. A lower number means the company has more money for administrative costs and profit.