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UNH > SEC Filings for UNH > Form 10-Q on 5-Aug-2013All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC



Quarterly Report


The following discussion should be read together with the accompanying Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes and with our 2012 10-K, including the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes in that report. References to the terms "UnitedHealth Group," "we," "our" or "us" used throughout this Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations refer to UnitedHealth Group Incorporated and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Readers are cautioned that the statements, estimates, projections or outlook contained in this Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, including discussions regarding financial prospects, economic conditions, trends and uncertainties contained in this Item 2, may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the results discussed or implied in the forward-looking statements. A description of some of the risks and uncertainties can be found further below.
UnitedHealth Group is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone. We offer a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services.
Further information on our business is included in Item 1, "Business" in our 2012 10-K and additional information on our segments can be found in this Item 2 and in Note 10 to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 1, "Financial Statements."
Business Trends
Our businesses participate in the U.S., Brazilian and certain other health economies. In the U.S., health care spending comprises approximately 18% of gross domestic product and has grown consistently for many years. We expect overall spending on health care to continue to grow in the future, due to inflation, medical technology and pharmaceutical advancement, regulatory requirements, demographic trends in the population and national interest in health and well-being. The rate of market growth may be affected by a variety of factors, including macro-economic conditions and regulatory changes, including enacted health care reforms in the U.S., which could also impact our results of operations.
Pricing Trends. We seek to price our health care benefit products consistent with anticipated underlying medical trends, while balancing growth, margins, competitive dynamics, cost increases for the industry fees and tax provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and a reconciliation measure, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which we refer to together as the Health Reform Legislation, and premium rebates at the local market level. Changes in business mix and Health Reform Legislation may impact our premiums, medical costs and medical care ratio. We continue to expect premium rates to be under pressure through ongoing market competition in commercial products and through government payment rates. Aggregating UnitedHealthcare's businesses, we believe the medical care ratio will rise over time as we continue to grow in the senior and public markets and begin to participate in the emerging health benefit exchange market in 2014.
In the commercial market segment, we expect pricing to continue to be highly competitive throughout 2013. We endeavor to sustain a commercial medical care ratio in a stable range for an equivalent mix of business. We plan to hold to our pricing disciplines and, considering the competitive environment and persistently weak employment and new business formation rates, we expect continued pressure on our commercial risk-based product membership over the balance of 2013. Self-insured membership as a percentage of total commercial membership is expected to continue to increase at a modest pace in 2013 and beyond, due in part to the emerging interest from fully-insured mid-size employers in moving to self-funded arrangements. In the first quarter of 2013, we worked with our largest fully-insured customer to convert its coverage arrangements from risk-based to fee-based status. While this conversion of 1.1 million risk-based members to a fee-based arrangement will reduce our 2013 consolidated revenues by $2.5 billion, the impact to our earnings from operations and cash flows will be negligible.
In government programs, we are seeing continuing rate pressures. Medicare Advantage funding has been cut in recent years, was further reduced in 2013 and additional reductions are expected in 2014, as discussed below in "Regulatory Trends and Uncertainties." Rate changes for some Medicaid programs are slightly negative year-over-year. Unlike in prior years, recent Medicaid rate reductions have generally not been mitigated by corresponding benefit reductions or care provider fee schedule reductions by the state sponsor. We continue to take a prudent, market-sustainable posture for both new bids and maintenance of existing Medicaid contracts. We expect these factors to result in year-over-year pressure on gross margin percentages for our

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Medicare and Medicaid programs over the balance of 2013.

For 2013, UnitedHealthcare created a new affordable "Basic Plan" for Medicare Part D consumers and reclassified its large four million member Medicare Part D plan to an "Enhanced Plan" status with CMS. The Basic Plan achieves a lower price point principally through a narrower list of covered drugs. Under CMS regulations, Enhanced Plans are not deemed actuarially equivalent to the standard Part D plan design for risk-sharing purposes. The change to Enhanced Plan status therefore changes the seasonal pattern of revenue and earnings to later in the year with no material impact expected on full-year profitability. Medical Cost Trends. We expect our 2013 commercial medical cost trend to be in the range of 5.5% plus or minus 50 basis points, with relatively consistent unit cost and utilization trends compared to 2012. We expect our total trend will be driven primarily by continued unit cost pressure from health care providers as they try to compensate for persistently lower government reimbursement levels. Health system utilization is increasing at a relatively consistent pace with the prior year, with utilization increases observed in outpatient services and offset by declining inpatient utilization. We expect full year 2013 pharmacy trends to be flat to slightly lower than in 2012. The primary drivers of prescription drug trends continue to be unit cost pressure and a shift towards expensive new specialty drugs. Overall, the recent weak economic environment, combined with our medical cost management, has had a favorable impact on utilization trends. We believe our alignment of progressive benefit designs, consumer engagement, clinical management, pay-for-performance reimbursement programs for care providers and network resources is favorably controlling medical and pharmacy costs, enhancing affordability and quality of health care for our customers and members.
Delivery System and Payment Modernization. The market is changing based on demographic shifts, new regulations, political forces and both payer and patient expectations. These factors are creating market pressures to change from fee-for-service delivery and payment arrangements to new delivery models focused on the holistic health of the consumer, integrated care across care providers and pay-for-performance payment structures. Health plans and care providers are being called upon to work together to close gaps in care and improve the overall care for people, improve the health of a population and reduce the cost of care. The focus on delivery system modernization and payment reform is critical and the alignment of incentives between key constituents remains an important theme. We are placing a greater emphasis on rewarding care providers for better care and lower costs. We have more than $20 billion of our reimbursements to hospitals, physicians, and ancillary care providers paid through contracts that link a portion of the reimbursement to quality and cost-efficiency measures; we expect the number of such contracts to increase significantly in the coming years as more care providers join the transition to accountable care contracts that reward quality and value-based health care.
This trend is also creating needs for health management services that can coordinate care around the primary care physician and for investment in new clinical and administrative information and management systems, providing growth opportunities for our Optum business platform.
Government Reliance on Private Sector. The government, as a benefit sponsor, has been increasingly relying on private sector solutions. We expect this trend to continue as we believe the private sector provides a more flexible, better managed, higher quality health care experience than do traditional passive indemnity programs typically used in governmental benefit programs.

States are struggling to balance budget pressures with increases in their Medicaid expenditures. At the same time, many states are expanding their interest in managed care with particular emphasis on consumers who have complex and expensive health care needs. Medicaid managed care is increasingly viewed as an effective method to improve quality and manage costs. There are more than nine million individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (known as dually eligible). Dually eligible beneficiaries typically have complex conditions, with costs of care that are far higher than those of a typical Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary. While these individuals' health needs are more complex and more costly, they have historically been in unmanaged environments. This provides UnitedHealthcare an opportunity to work with governments to integrate Medicare and Medicaid financing to fund efforts to optimize the health status of this frail population through close coordination of care. As of June 30, 2013, UnitedHealthcare served more than 250,000 members in legacy dually eligible programs through Medicare Advantage and Special Needs Plans. In the first half of 2014, UnitedHealthcare Community & State plans to help implement Integrated Medicare-Medicaid Eligible (MME) programs in two states. Regulatory Trends and Uncertainties
Following is a summary of management's view of the trends and uncertainties related to some of the key provisions of the Health Reform Legislation and other regulatory items; for additional information regarding the Health Reform Legislation and regulatory trends and uncertainties, see Item 1, "Business - Government Regulation" and Item 1A, "Risk Factors" in our 2012 10-K.

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Medicare Advantage Rates and Minimum Loss Ratios. Medicare Advantage payment benchmarks have been cut over the last several years, including 2013, with additional funding reductions to be phased-in over the next two to four years. Further, on April 1, 2013, CMS released its final notice of 2014 Medicare Advantage benchmark rates and payment policies. The final notice includes significant reductions to 2014 Medicare Advantage payments, including the benchmark reductions described previously. These reductions and the Health Reform Legislation insurance industry tax described below result in revenue reductions and incremental assessments totaling more than 4% in 2014, against a typical industry forward medical cost trend outlook of 3%. Additionally, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which as amended by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, triggered automatic across-the-board budget cuts (known as sequestration), including a 2% reduction in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D payments beginning April 1, 2013. The impact of sequestration cuts to our Medicare Advantage revenues is partially mitigated by reductions in provider reimbursements for those care providers with rates indexed to Medicare Advantage revenues or Medicare fee-for-service reimbursement rates. We estimate that sequestration, which began in April 2013, will result in a net decrease to our consolidated pre-tax earnings in the range of $250 million to $300 million for the full year 2013. These factors will likely affect our plan benefit designs, market participation, growth prospects and earnings potential for our Medicare Advantage plans in 2014. In addition, beginning in 2014, Medicare Advantage plans will be required to have a minimum medical loss ratio of 85%. On-going reductions to Medicare Advantage funding place continued importance on effective medical management and ongoing improvements in administrative efficiency. There are a number of adjustments we can and are making to partially offset these rate reductions. These adjustments will impact the majority of the seniors we serve through Medicare Advantage. For example, we seek to intensify our medical and operating cost management, make changes to the composition of our care provider network and the terms of our contracts with care providers, adjust members' benefits and decide on a county-by-county basis in which geographies to participate. These changes will impact the level of value our offerings provide to seniors and are likely to reduce both retention levels and slow the rate of new member sign-ups in 2014. The depth of the underfunding of these benefits is also causing us to exit certain plans and market areas for 2014 in which we currently serve approximately 150,000 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.
Our Medicare Advantage rates are currently enhanced by CMS quality bonuses in certain counties based on a plan's star rating. The level of star ratings from CMS, based upon specified clinical and operational performance standards, will impact future quality bonuses. In addition, star ratings affect the amount of savings a plan has to generate to offer supplemental benefits, which ultimately may affect the plan's revenue. The expanded stars bonus program is set to expire after 2014. In 2015, quality bonus payments will only be paid to 4 and 5 star plans compared to current bonuses that are available to qualifying plans rated 3 stars or higher. For the 2014 payment year, based on scoring released by CMS in October 2012, approximately 60% of our current Medicare Advantage members are enrolled in plans that will be rated 3.5 stars or higher and approximately 10% are enrolled in plans that will be rated 4 stars or higher. Updated scores, to be released in October 2013, will determine what portion of our Medicare Advantage membership will reside in 4 or 5 star plans and qualify for quality bonus payments in 2015. Although we are dedicating substantial resources to improving our quality scores and star ratings, if we are unable to significantly increase the level of membership in plans with a rating of 4 stars or higher for the 2015 payment year, our 2015 results of operations and cash flows could be adversely impacted.
We also may be able to mitigate the effects of reduced funding by increasing enrollment due, in part, to the increasing number of people eligible for Medicare in coming years. Compared with the second quarter of 2012, our 2013 Medicare Advantage membership has increased by 415,000 consumers, or 17%. Longer term, market wide decreases in the availability or relative quality of Medicare Advantage products may increase demand for other senior health benefits products such as our Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D insurance offerings. Industry Fees and Taxes. The Health Reform Legislation includes an annual, non-deductible insurance industry tax to be levied proportionally across the insurance industry for risk-based products, beginning January 1, 2014. The industry-wide amount of the annual tax is $8 billion in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015 and 2016, $13.9 billion in 2017 and $14.3 billion in 2018. For 2019 and beyond, the amount will be equal to the annual tax for the preceding year increased by the rate of premium growth for the preceding year. The annual tax will be allocated to each market participant based on the ratio of the entity's net premiums written during the preceding calendar year to the total health insurance industry's net premiums written for any U.S. health risk-based products during the preceding calendar year, subject to certain exceptions. This tax will first be expensed and paid in 2014. However, because our policies are annual with varying beginning dates throughout the calendar year, for those policies that include a portion of 2014 coverage periods, we have included the tax and other Health Reform Legislation cost factors, wherever possible, proportionally in our 2013 rate filings; any related premium increases will increase the amount of premium recognized in 2013. Our effective income tax rate will increase significantly in 2014 as a result of the non-deductibility of these taxes.
With the introduction of state health insurance exchanges in 2014, the Health Reform Legislation includes three programs designed to stabilize the health insurance markets. These programs are: a transitional reinsurance program; a temporary risk

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corridors program; and a permanent risk adjustment program. The transitional reinsurance program is a temporary program that will be funded on a per capita basis from all commercial lines of business including insured and self-funded arrangements ($25 billion over a three-year period beginning in 2014 of which $20 billion, subject to increases based on state decisions, will fund the state reinsurance pools and $5 billion will fund the U.S. Treasury). While funding for the reinsurance program will come from all commercial lines of business, only non-grandfathered individual business will be eligible for reinsurance recoveries.
Commercial Rate Increase Review. The Health Reform Legislation requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to maintain an annual review of "unreasonable" increases in premium rates for commercial health plans. HHS established a review threshold of annual premium rate increases generally at or above 10% and enacted a new rule requiring the production of information regarding any proposed rate increase (whether or not in excess of 10% annually). HHS review does not supersede existing state review and approval procedures. Premium rate review legislation (ranging from new or enhanced rate filing requirements to prior approval requirements) has been introduced or passed in more than half of the states.
The competitive forces common in our markets do not support unjustifiable rate increases. We have experienced and expect to continue to experience a tight, competitive commercial pricing environment. Further, our rates and rate filings are developed using methods consistent with the standards of actuarial practices. We have requested rate increases above 10% in a number of markets due to the combination of medical cost trends and the incremental costs of health care reform. We have begun to experience greater regulatory challenges to appropriate premium rate increases in several states, including California and New York. Depending on the level of scrutiny of our proposed rate increases by the states and HHS, we may experience a broad range of potential business impacts. For example, it may become more difficult for us to price our commercial risk-based business consistent with expected underlying cost trends, leading to the risk of operating margin compression in the commercial health benefits business.
State-Based Exchanges and Coverage Expansion. Effective in 2014, state-based exchanges are required to be established for individuals and small employers, with enrollment processes scheduled to commence in October 2013. We expect to respond and participate selectively in exchanges as they are introduced to the market. Our level of participation in state-based exchanges will be driven by how we assess each local market's current and future prospects, including how the exchange and its rules are set up state-by-state and our market position relative to others in the market. We currently expect to participate in about 12 exchanges between the individual and small group exchange categories in 2014. Our participation will likely evolve over time as the exchange markets mature. Exchanges will create new market dynamics that could impact our existing businesses, depending on the ultimate member migration patterns for each market, the pace of migration in the market and the impact of the migration on our established membership. For example, certain small employers may no longer offer health benefits to their employees and some employers purchasing full risk products could convert to self-funded programs.
The Health Reform Legislation also provides for expanded Medicaid coverage effective in January 2014. These measures remain subject to implementation at the state level.
Individual & Small Group Market Reforms. The Health Reform Legislation includes several provisions that will take effect on January 1, 2014 and are expected to alter the individual and small group marketplace. In early 2013, HHS released new rules implementing key provisions of the Health Reform Legislation that address, among other matters: (1) adjusted community rating requirements, which will change how individual and small group plans are rated in many states and are expected to result in significant adjustments in some policyholders' rates;
(2) essential health benefit requirements, which will result in benefit changes for many individual and small group policyholders and will also impact rates; and (3) actuarial value requirements, which will significantly impact benefit designs in the individual market, such as member cost sharing requirements, and could also significantly impact rates for many individual and some small group policyholders. We are assessing the impact of these rules to the individual and small group marketplace and working with state regulators to complete rate filings and approvals as needed.

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The following table summarizes our consolidated results of operations and other
financial information:
                                                                                                     Six Months Ended
                                  Three Months Ended June 30,           Increase/(Decrease)              June 30,               Increase/(Decrease)
(in millions, except
percentages and per share
data)                               2013               2012                2013 vs. 2012             2013         2012             2013 vs. 2012
Premiums                      $      27,220       $      24,609     $     2,611            11 %   $ 54,494     $ 49,240     $     5,254           11 %
Services                              2,244               1,800             444            25        4,356        3,591             765           21
Products                                749                 678              71            10        1,500        1,366             134           10
Investment and other income             195                 178              17            10          398          350              48           14
Total revenues                       30,408              27,265           3,143            12       60,748       54,547           6,201           11
Operating costs:
Medical costs                        22,173              20,013           2,160            11       44,742       39,952           4,790           12
Operating costs                       4,825               4,080             745            18        9,439        8,176           1,263           15
Cost of products sold                   669                 620              49             8        1,351        1,254              97            8
Depreciation and
amortization                            340                 326              14             4          676          622              54            9
Total operating costs                28,007              25,039           2,968            12       56,208       50,004           6,204           12
Earnings from operations              2,401               2,226             175             8        4,540        4,543              (3 )          -
Interest expense                       (176 )              (153 )            23            15         (354 )       (301 )            53           18
Earnings before income
taxes                                 2,225               2,073             152             7        4,186        4,242             (56 )         (1 )
Provision for income taxes             (789 )              (736 )            53             7       (1,510 )     (1,517 )            (7 )          -
Net earnings                          1,436               1,337              99             7        2,676        2,725             (49 )         (2 )
Less earnings attributable
to noncontrolling interest                -                   -               -            nm          (48 )          -             (48 )         nm
Net earnings attributable
to UnitedHealth Group
common shareholders           $       1,436       $       1,337     $        99             7 %   $  2,628     $  2,725     $       (97 )         (4 )%
Diluted earnings per share
attributable to
UnitedHealth Group common
shareholders                  $        1.40       $        1.27     $      0.13            10 %   $   2.56     $   2.59     $     (0.03 )         (1 )%
Medical care ratio (a)                 81.5 %              81.3 %           0.2  %                    82.1 %       81.1 %           1.0  %
Operating cost ratio                   15.9                15.0             0.9                       15.5         15.0             0.5
Operating margin                        7.9                 8.2            (0.3 )                      7.5          8.3            (0.8 )
Tax rate                               35.5                35.5               -                       36.1         35.8             0.3
Net margin                              4.7                 4.9            (0.2 )                      4.4          5.0            (0.6 )
Return on equity (b)                   18.2 %              18.4 %          (0.2 )%                    16.7 %       18.9 %          (2.2 )%

nm= not meaningful
(a) Medical care ratio is calculated as medical costs divided by premium revenue.

(b) Return on equity is calculated as annualized net earnings divided by average equity. Average equity is calculated using the equity balance at the end of the preceding year and the equity balances at the end of each of the quarters in the periods presented.

The following represents a summary of select second quarter 2013 year-over-year operating comparisons to second quarter 2012 and other 2013 significant items.
Consolidated revenues increased by 12%, UnitedHealthcare revenues increased by 11% and Optum revenues grew by 21%.

UnitedHealthcare medical enrollment grew by 9.1 million people, including 4.7 million people served internationally, primarily in Brazil, and 2.9 million military beneficiaries through the TRICARE contract.

Medicare Part D stand-alone membership increased by 570,000 people.

The consolidated medical care ratio of 81.5% increased 20 basis points.

Earnings from operations decreased 2% at UnitedHealthcare and increased 68% at Optum.

We acquired all of Amil's remaining public shares for $1.5 billion.

As of June 30, 2013, there was $1.2 billion of cash available for general corporate use.

The ratio of debt to debt-plus-equity decreased 160 basis points from March 31, 2013 to 34.6% at June 30, 2013.

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