UnitedHealth Group Continues Efforts to Combat COVID-19 Reports Second Quarter Performance

MINNETONKA, Minn. (July 15, 2020) – During the second quarter of 2020, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) expanded its COVID-19 response efforts, proactively supporting patients, customers, care providers and communities, including investing in outreach programs and clinical innovations to address the urgent needs of underserved communities disproportionately impacted by the disease. 

“Our 325,000 dedicated team members, including the 120,000 clinicians serving on the front lines of care, have tirelessly responded to COVID-19 with agility, innovation and compassion,” said David S. Wichmann, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group. “We moved swiftly to assist the people we serve and their care providers, including the provision of $3.5 billion in proactive voluntary customer assistance and accelerated care provider funding. We remain committed to taking further actions to address any future imbalances as a result of the pandemic.” 

Second quarter 2020 net earnings and adjusted net earnings per share of $6.91 and $7.12 were substantially higher than anticipated due primarily to the unprecedented, temporary deferral of care in the Company’s risk-based businesses. The Company expects these results will be offset in the quarters ahead by the assistance measures already taken, the resumption of deferred care and future COVID-19 cost and economic impacts. As the pandemic advanced, access to and demand for care was most constrained from mid-March through April, began to recover in May and approached more typical levels by the end of the second quarter. The Company is maintaining its full year earnings per share outlook for 2020 of net earnings of $15.45 to $15.75 per share and adjusted net earnings of $16.25 to $16.55 per share.

Investments by the Company to support those affected by COVID-19 include extensive local market relief efforts, innovative health workforce safety initiatives, treatment and testing innovations and support for seniors and individuals experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Building on years of investments in support of advancing health equity, the Company invested another $100 million in affordable housing to address homelessness and led numerous additional efforts to increase the availability of testing and treatment for COVID-19, including establishing more than 500 testing centers in underserved communities, deploying free COVID-19 mobile and local testing sites, health and safety kits, and education and outreach resources to underserved communities. The Company is also leading innovative clinical research to study the elevated risks and treatment options for COVID-19 associated with health conditions that disproportionately impact minority populations.  A summary of the Company’s COVID-19 response to date is included as part of this release.

UnitedHealth Group
Quarterly Financial Performance: Three Months Ended


     June 30, 2020

     June 30, 2019

     March 31, 2020


     $62.1 billion

     $60.6 billion

     $64.4 billion

     Earnings from  

     $9.2 billion

     $4.7 billion

     $5.0 billion

     Net Margin





  • UnitedHealth Group’s second quarter 2020 revenues increased $1.5 billion to $62.1 billion, reflecting growth at Optum and the UnitedHealthcare public-sector and senior businesses, partially offset by economic-related impacts at UnitedHealthcare commercial and global.·
  • Second quarter earnings from operations increased $4.5 billion to $9.2 billion, impacted primarily by the previously described deferred care in the risk-based businesses, with this care expected to be delivered in future periods.  
  • Cash flows from operations were $10.0 billion or 1.5 times net income in the second quarter and $12.9 billion or 1.3 times net income year to date.    
  • The second quarter medical care ratio was impacted by the temporary deferral of care due to the pandemic, declining to 70.2% from 83.1% last year. The Company expects the medical care ratio to rise in coming quarters as needed care is accessed. Favorable reserve development was $1.4 billion in the second quarter, nearly all related to the current year, and primarily due to higher than expected care deferrals in late March, further lowering the second quarter medical care ratio. Days claims payable were 50.4 days compared to 48.6 in the second quarter 2019 and 50.5 in the first quarter 2020.
  • The operating cost ratio of 16.1% in the second quarter of 2020 increased from 13.9% in the same period last year, primarily due to the health insurance tax, COVID-19 response efforts and business mix.
  • The Company returned $1.2 billion to shareholders in the second quarter via dividends, while the debt to total capital ratio was 40.9% at quarter end. Return on equity of 33.7% for the first half of 2020 reflects continued strong core operating performance and the temporary impact of care deferrals experienced during the second quarter 2020.  
UnitedHealthcare provides global health care benefits, serving individuals and employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.  UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to improving the value health care consumers receive by reducing the total cost of care, enhancing the quality of care received, improving health and wellness and simplifying the health care experience.

Quarterly Financial Performance: Three Months Ended


    June 30, 2020

    June 30, 2019

    March 31, 2020



    $49.1 billion


    $48.6 billion


    $51.1 billion

    Earnings from

    $7.0 billion

    $2.6 billion

    $2.9 billion

    Operating Margin





  • UnitedHealthcare second quarter revenues of $49.1 billion compare to $48.6 billion in the year ago quarter, as growth in serving public-sector and senior programs was partially offset by commercial enrollment declines. UnitedHealthcare public-sector and senior program revenue, including Medicare and Medicaid, grew by 7% year-over-year in the quarter and by nearly 600,000 additional people served year to date, while commercial revenue was impacted by economic-driven member attrition. 
  • Operating earnings of $7.0 billion compare to last year’s $2.6 billion, with comparatively higher growth and operating margins compared to prior periods driven by the temporary impact of deferred care, net of COVID-19 treatment costs and the initial impact of a decelerating economy. The Company expects future quarters will reflect the restoration of care patterns and the impact of its $1.5 billion in customer assistance actions against the backdrop of an uncertain economic recovery.
  • Further UnitedHealthcare growth highlights include: Medicaid business wins in Kentucky and Indiana; continued growth in serving people in dual special needs plans; gains in serving individuals’ health benefits needs in the commercial marketplace; and launch of GetCovered, a national, multicarrier service offering consumers information, guidance, enrollment, support and affordable coverage across 200 independent individual health and local Medicaid plans supported by the Company’s HealthMarkets benefits representatives. 

Optum is a health services business serving the global health care marketplace, including payers, care providers, employers, governments, life sciences companies and consumers.  Using market-leading information, data analytics, technology and clinical insights, Optum helps improve overall health system performance: optimizing care quality, reducing health care costs and improving the consumer experience.

Quarterly Financial Performance: Three Months Ended


    June 30, 2020

    June 30, 2019

    March 31, 2020



    $32.7 billion


    $28.0 billion


    $32.8 billion

    Earnings from

    $2.2 billion

    $2.1 billion

    $2.1 billion

    Operating Margin





  • Optum second quarter revenues and operating earnings of $32.7 billion and $2.2 billion respectively advanced from $28.0 billion and $2.1 billion a year ago, led by earnings growth at OptumHealth. 
  • OptumHealth served approximately 97 million people in the second quarter, compared to 95 million a year ago, while revenue per consumer served grew 25% year-over-year driven by continued growth in value-based care arrangements. The OptumHealth care delivery practices were impacted early in the quarter due to the pandemic. By June, care patterns had returned to near normal levels. Over the course of the quarter, the Company accelerated the growth of its employed and affiliated physicians at OptumCare. 
  • The OptumInsight revenue backlog rose to $19.4 billion at quarter end, an increase of nearly $1 billion year-over-year, driven by growth in technology and managed services across the business. Activity levels within OptumInsight’s volume-based services were negatively affected by care deferrals.  
  • At OptumRx, diversified growth in areas such as home infusion services, community-based behavioral health pharmacies, e-commerce and specialty pharmaceuticals partially offset the negative impact of reduced first fill prescription volumes, driven by COVID-19 related care deferral. As care delivery activity has been recovering over the course of the quarter, script volumes have begun to return to more normal levels. 
  • Further Optum growth highlights include: extending geographic presence and distinctive capabilities through strategic acquisitions in infusion services (Diplomat Pharmacy), post-acute care (NaviHealth) and digital behavioral health (AbleTo); launching the Boulder Community Health partnership; providing testing services in California, Indiana and Florida; and launching digital at home and rare disease pharmacy programs.

COVID-19 Response to Date
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is profoundly impacting the health of people around the world, as well as our global economies. The safety and health of the people we serve, our team members, their families, our stakeholders, broader communities and the reliability of our health care systems consume our resources and our focus.

Care of Our Team Members

  • Within days, 90% of our nonclinical workforce was temporarily transitioned to a work at home status while maintaining all service levels.
  • We increased compensation for our front-line clinical workforce in high incidence communities. 

Serving Customers, Members and Patients 

  • Provided $1.5 billion in direct customer and consumer support through premium credits, cost-sharing waivers and other efforts. Expect another $1 billion in rebates to be paid in future periods.
  • Accelerated nearly $2 billion of payments to care providers to provide needed liquidity for the health system. 
  • Waived all cost sharing for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Provided unlimited free telehealth services. 
  • Removed all COVID-19 prior authorizations.
  • Provided early refills, extended authorizations and increased home delivery options of medication to ensure no shortages. 
  • Extended grace periods for employers and individuals to pay premiums. 
  • Deployed triage tools, including a symptom checker with next best action recommendations. 
  • Shifted more than 14,000 OptumCare physicians to telehealth for patient visits that would have otherwise been canceled. 
  • Deployed 700 Advance Practice Clinicians to expand telehealth services. 
  • Introduced a special enrollment period to allow commercial customers to add employees who previously declined health benefit coverage. 
  • Hired by California, Indiana and Jacksonville, Florida to expand COVID-19 testing, with an emphasis on serving underserved communities. 
  • Increased the number of behavioral health professionals using our proprietary online behavioral health platform by 45% to more than 10,000. 
  • Developed a cash discount option for members who have lost pharmacy benefit coverage.
  • Facilitated infusion services to the home that were traditionally administered in hospital or clinic settings.


Download second quarter results here


Serving Society
  • Selected by HHS to assist in processing and distributing $100 billion CARES Act funding to care delivery providers. 
  • Joined forces with Microsoft to launch ProtectWell,™ an innovative return-to-workplace protocol that enables employers to bring employees back to the workplace. 
  • Developed and tested a new FDA approved self-administered COVID-19 swab protocol and led a study resulting in FDA approval for the use of alternative swab materials, providing more options for sample collection. 
  • Published a study with Yale School of Medicine that showed the use of ACE inhibitors was associated with an almost 40% lower risk of COVID-19 hospitalization for Medicare Advantage patients. 
  • Conducting a first of its kind 10,000-person virtual clinical trial with Yale Medical School to examine the potential role of ACE inhibitors in preventing severe consequences of COVID-19.
  • Partnering with the Morehouse School of Medicine to study the effect of sickle cell trait, which is prevalent in 8-10% of Black Americans, on COVID-19. 
  • Partnered with Boston Scientific, Medtronic and the University of Minnesota to develop and deploy 3,000 “light ventilators” to address critical shortages. 
  • Donated $5 million to accelerate and expand Mayo Clinic’s study of convalescent plasma treatments. 
  • Opened free access to our mental health mobile app and 24/7 emotional support phone lines. 
  • Provided more than $100 million in support to date to those affected by COVID-19, including community relief efforts, health workforce safety, seniors, and individuals experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. 
  • Scaled a mobile and local testing program to address health disparities and meet the unique needs of disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Orleans Parish. 
  • Announced that we will not request, nor do we intend to retain, any government assistance.


About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers 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. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.

Earnings Conference Call

As previously announced, UnitedHealth Group will discuss the company’s results, strategy and future outlook on a conference call with investors at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time today. UnitedHealth Group will host a live webcast of this conference call from the Investor Relations page of the company’s website (www.unitedhealthgroup.com). Following the call, a webcast replay will be available on the same site through July 29, 2020. The conferencecall replay can also be accessed by dialing 1-800-688-7339. This earnings release and the Form 8-K dated July 15, 2020, can also be accessed from the Investor Relations page of the company’s website.

Non-GAAP Financial Information

This news release presents non-GAAP financial information provided as a complement to the results provided in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial information to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is provided in the accompanying tables found at the end of this release.

Forward-Looking Statements

The statements, estimates, projections, guidance or outlook contained in this document include “forward-looking” statements which are intended to take advantage of the “safe harbor” provisions of the federal securities law. The words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “forecast,” “outlook,” “plan,” “project,” “should” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. These statements may contain information about financial prospects, economic conditions and trends and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those that management expects, depending on the outcome of certain factors including: risks associated with public health crises, large-scale medical emergencies and pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic; our ability to effectively estimate, price for and manage medical costs; new or changes in existing health care laws or regulations, or their enforcement or application; the DOJ’s legal action relating to the risk adjustment submission matter; our ability to maintain and achieve improvement in quality scores impacting revenue; reductions in revenue or delays to cash flows received under government programs; changes in Medicare, the CMS star ratings program or the application of risk adjustment data validation audits; failure to maintain effective and efficient information systems or if our technology products do not operate as intended; cyberattacks, other privacy/data security incidents, or our failure to comply with related regulations; risks and uncertainties associated with the pharmacy benefits management industry; competitive pressures; changes in or challenges to our public sector contract awards; our ability to contract on competitive terms with physicians, hospitals and other service providers; failure to achieve targeted operating cost productivity improvements; increases in costs and other liabilities associated with litigation, government investigations, audits or reviews; failure to manage successfully our strategic alliances or complete or receive anticipated benefits of strategic transactions; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; downgrades in our credit ratings; our investment portfolio performance; impairment of our goodwill and intangible assets; and our ability to obtain sufficient funds from our regulated subsidiaries or from external financings to fund our obligations, maintain our debt to total capital ratio at targeted levels, maintain our quarterly dividend payment cycle, or continue repurchasing shares of our common stock. This above list is not exhaustive. We discuss these matters, and certain risks that may affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations more fully in our filings with the SEC, including our reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K. By their nature, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict or quantify. Actual results may vary materially from expectations expressed or implied in this document or any of our prior communications. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. We do not undertake to update or revise any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.