By Matt Grossman

 

UnitedHealth Group Inc. Wednesday posted a drop in profit in the latest quarter compared with a year ago as patients returned to health-care providers and costs rose as the coronavirus pandemic wore on.

The Minnetonka, Minn.-based health-care company recorded a fourth-quarter profit of $2.21 billion, or $2.30 a share, compared with a profit of $3.54 billion, or $3.68 a share, in the same three-month period a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company's profit was $2.52 a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast an adjusted profit of $2.41 a share.

Revenue climbed to $65.47 billion, up from $60.9 billion in last year's fourth quarter. Analysts were anticipating revenue of $64.96 billion.

Revenue from premiums ticked higher to $50.58 billion from $47.63 billion a year earlier. Products revenue rose to $8.69 billion in the quarter, while services revenue increased to $5.75 billion.

UnitedHealth's medical-care ratio, the ratio of medical expenditures to revenue from premiums, was 79.1% in the full year after Covid-19 disrupted health-care earlier in the 12-month period, contracting from 82.5% in 2019.

Revenue from Optum, UnitedHealth's health-services business, grew to $35.9 billion in the fourth quarter from $29.8 billion in the year-ago quarter.

UnitedHealth Wednesday also affirmed its full-year guidance for 2021, including net earnings of $16.90 to $17.40 a share and adjusted net earnings of $17.75 to $18.25 a share.

 

Write to Matt Grossman at matt.grossman@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 20, 2021 06:40 ET (11:40 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.