UnitedHealth tops estimates, narrows outlook

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UnitedHealth on Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected rise in second-quarter net income as it enrolled more people in private and government-paid health insurance plans and sold more health technology systems.

The company, the largest U.S. health insurer, reported net income of $1.44 billion, or $1.40 per share, compared with $1.34 billion, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.25 per share, according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares fell in pre-market trading. (Click here to track its shares before the opening bell.)

UnitedHealth said it had narrowed the range of its 2013 outlook and now expected earnings of $5.35 to $5.50 per share. Analysts had forecast $5.44.

Revenue grew to $30.4 billion in the quarter. Analysts had expected $30.5 billion.

The company said the number of people enrolled in its insurance plans, including through small businesses, large corporations, the military, Medicare for elderly people and Medicaid for the poor, was 89.2 million at the end of June, up from 86 million at the end of March.