3 Major Health Insurance Companies Lock in Earnings

Healthcare (NYSE:XLV) has become a heavily traded area in the markets. Here’s a look at how 3 major health insurance companies fared in the second quarter.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH): Net income for UnitedHealth Group Inc. rose to $1.27 billion ($1.16 per share) vs. $1.12 billion (99 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 12.8% from the year earlier quarter. Revenues rose 8.5% to $25.23 billion from the year earlier quarter. UNH beat the mean analyst estimate of 94 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $25.25 billion.

Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group, said, “We draw on competencies in clinical insight, advanced technology and health information management to achieve a range of solutions for a diversity of customers and market segments through our UnitedHealthcare and Optum businesses. We are achieving strong and consistent growth as customers respond to our focus on consistent fundamental execution and solutions-oriented innovation around their needs.”

Competitors to Watch: Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT), Coventry Health Care, Inc. (NYSE:CVH), Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP), CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI), WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG), Universal American Corp. (NYSE:UAM), Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC), and HealthSpring, Inc (NYSE:HS).

Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET): Net income for the health care plans company rose to $536.7 million ($1.39 per share) vs. $491 million ($1.14 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 9.3% from the year earlier quarter. Revenues fell 2.4% to $8.34 billion from the year earlier quarter. AET reported adjusted net income of $1.35 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.07 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $8.32 billion.

“Aetna’s second-quarter financial results reflect strong operating fundamentals across the enterprise,” said Mark T. Bertolini, chairman, CEO and president.”Three main factors account for our success: disciplined pricing and medical cost management; lower than anticipated utilization of health care services by our members; and strong cash flow generation. The result has been better-than-projected financial results in the first half of 2011.”

Competitors to Watch: UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT), Coventry Health Care, Inc. (NYSE:CVH), WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP), CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI), WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG), Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC), HealthSpring, Inc (NYSE:HS), and Universal American Corp. (NYSE:UAM).

Wellpoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP): Net income for Wellpoint, Inc. fell to $701.6 million ($1.89 per share) vs. $722.4 million ($1.71 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 2.9% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 2.9% to $14.88 billion from the year earlier quarter. WLP reported adjusted net income of $1.83 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.80 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $14.65 billion.

“Our second quarter results exceeded our forecast and reflected the significant administrative cost savings we have been able to achieve through our continuous improvement and efficiency initiatives. This focus on execution has enabled us to exceed our goals through the first six months of the year,” said Angela F. Braly, chair, president and chief executive officer. “We remain committed to growth, continuous improvement, providing high quality products and services to our members, and creating the best health care value in our industry. By executing on these strategies, we now expect to achieve higher results in 2011, and believe that we can grow from these levels in the years ahead.”

Competitors to Watch: CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI), Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), Universal American Corp. (NYSE:UAM), Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT), HealthSpring, Inc (NYSE:HS), Molina Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:MOH), Coventry Health Care, Inc. (NYSE:CVH), and Triple-S Management Corp. (NYSE:GTS).