UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, kicks off third-quarter earnings reports for the major carriers. For investors, a big focus this earnings season will be the industry's strategy when it comes to the major government health-care programs, which will make up an increasingly larger share of their business.
"After an eventful few weeks with the release of various data on the public exchanges, Medicare, and Medicaid," wrote Wells Fargo analyst Peter Costa in a research note, "we believe investors will be intently focused on the companies' outlook for 2014, competitive positioning, and growth potential."
UnitedHealth is expected to report third-quarter profit of $1.53 per share on revenue of just over $30 billion, according to analysts' estimates compiled by FactSet.
(Read more: Beyond snafus, insurers eye Obamacare opportunity)
As the largest provider of Medicare Advantage Plans, analysts will be looking for greater details on its pricing of just-released plans for 2014, and its outlook for profit margins on those plans.
The nation's largest insurer may not be much of a bellwether, however, when it comes to so-called Obamacare. United is offering plans on only a handful of state-built insurance exchanges, including New York and Nevada, where it has made a special push with plans aimed at Latino enrollees.
"Based on our review of the federal exchange prices, UnitedHealth seemed relatively cautious, offering plans in only a very limited selection on the small group federal exchanges with somewhat higher prices," Costa wrote.