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UnitedHealthcare is hitting pre-pandemic profit records…yippee.

A July 15 Axios article exposes UnitedHealthcare’s return to pre-pandemic profits—and intercompany power building.

It’s common knowledge at this point – insurers made a killing last year due to the pandemic. Limited care led to fewer medical claims, which led to more dollars in insurers’ pockets. And now that people have slowly started returning to doctors and healthcare is normalizing – which is a good thing – you might expect to see that profit trajectory slow.

And it has, a little. But one health insurer’s years of empire building has really paid off. United turned not only a pretty penny in Q2, but a profit well over pre-pandemic levels.

To get into the specifics – United’s revenue is still on the up and up, soaring 15% higher than Q2 of 2020. And while patients’ return to care did eat a little into those record-breaking profits, Q2 earnings were still 30% higher than the same period of 2019, those heady pre-pandemic days of yore.

At the end of the day, we’re talking insane amounts of money. In fact, “UnitedHealth remains the most financially powerful private entity in the health care system.”

And while care utilization stabilizing is a good thing to most, we assume United’s shareholders aren’t loving any slowing in those earnings. It’s possible United’s acquisitions on the provider side will be enough of a balancing act to even out the insurance side of the business — after all, we did just learn about “intercompany eliminations.” It seems they win either way. Forgive us if we’re raining a little on United’s parade, but it just hard to celebrate stunning revenue growth for corporate shareholders while the rest of the country tries desperately to rebuild a sense of normalcy while a global pandemic’s third surge rages on.

But hey. Cheers.

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