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Break out your umbrella — we’ve got a payer forecast ahead.

UnitedHealth Group raised their revenue forecast (yet again) for the third quarter. Let’s just say they’re making it rain.

Showers are forthcoming. Maybe even thunderstorms, by the look of it.

According to a recent article in Becker’s Payer Issues, UnitedHealth Group (UHG) reported third-quarter revenue growth in the double digits across all lines of business. (A quick reminder that UnitedHealth Group is comprised of UnitedHealthcare and Optum.) This quarter alone, the health insurance giant experienced a 28.5% increase in net revenues.

“The strength of our performance reflects the diligence and determination of our colleagues to improve people’s experience across the health care system and make high-quality care simpler, more accessible and more affordable,” says UHG’s CEO, Andrew Witty.

Giving credit where credit is due, huh? Let’s dissect this statement a little bit:

  • If by “reflects the diligence and determination of our colleagues” you really mean building a mega-empire on the backs of floundering hospitals and overworked health care workers, then sure, UHG — your colleagues set you up well to succeed.
  • And if “improve people’s experience across the health care system” means chronically denying patients their mental health care services, inflating prescription drug prices by billions of dollars, and attempting to implement stricter criteria for ER visits, then sure – you’re simply excelling in the ‘patient experience’ category.
  • And finally, let’s not forget how UHG’s message for how they “make high-quality care simpler, more accessible and more affordable,” is at the expense of the physicians actually providing the care. This behavior has led to some notable lawsuits within the last year. Remember when UnitedHealthcare strongarmed Nashville-based physician group Envision Healthcare into accepting pitiful reimbursement rates, forcing providers out of network? Or when the health insurance giant got so greedy to add to its castle that when trying to acquire Change Healthcare (also located in Nashville), the Department of Justice had to get involved?

Before you rest on your laurels, Mr. Witty, let’s remember that UHG’s “success” is solely based off its egregious failures to its many members and provider partners.

When will UHG’s shower of rain go dry? Guess we’ll have to wait to see what the insurance weather report says at the end of next quarter.

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