2014 revenue up for United Health and most commercial insurers
UnitedHealth Group saw an upsurge in its government business as it kept the top spot on Modern Healthcare’s list of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies in 2014. Nearly all of insurers on the list enjoyed an increase in total revenue in 2014 compared with the previous year.
Minnetonka, Minn.-based United-Health saw a 5.3% increase in total revenue, which the company attributed to growth in the number of individuals served in its public and senior markets businesses. Its community and state segment, whose primary customers run state Medicaid programs and Children’s Health Insurance Programs and other federal and state efforts, saw a 29.1% revenue increase over the prior year. As of Dec. 31, 2014, the insurer’s community and state businesses participated in insurance programs in 24 states, serving more than 5 million beneficiaries. Twelve of United-Health’s state customers chose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
But UnitedHealth saw a 4% decrease in its employer and individual business, as more employers shifted to self-insured plans. About 91% of people in companies with 5,000 or more workers were in self-insured plans in 2014, while 15% of people in companies with fewer than 200 workers were in self-insured plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
One segment of UnitedHealth Group’s business saw particular growth in 2014. Optum, which provides population health management, care delivery, and clinical and operating services for hospital systems, experienced a 25% increase in revenue over 2013, which the company attributed to increased productivity.
Meanwhile, St. Louis-based Centene Corp. saw a 52.4% revenue jump, the largest among insurers on the list. Managed-care membership climbed to 4.1 million, up 41%, the company said. Centene’s California subsidiary, California Health and Wellness, began operating under a new contract to serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries in California in November 2013. In January 2014, California Health and Wellness began serving many new enrollees under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, the company said.
Universal American Corp., which finished 11th on the list, saw a 5.4% drop in revenue over 2013. Revenue generated from the company’s Medicare Advantage segment fell 11.9%. The company said its decline in earnings was driven by the ACA’s health insurance tax payments of $22.9 million, and lower membership and net investment income.