UnitedHealth Group stock rises, company plans to enter state exchanges

UnitedHealth Group's stock rose about one and a half percent Thursday, despite a drop in earnings.

United Health's second-quarter earnings fell 2 percent to $1.4 billion. The company blamed a rise in taxes and other expenses, including some related to the Affordable Care Act.

Revenue rose 7 percent to nearly $33 billion.

CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company is planning to increase its participation in state health insurance exchanges it has avoided so far.

"In the individual market, we plan to grow next year as we expand our offerings to as many as two dozen state exchanges," Hemsley said. "This approach is consistent with our long stated plan to take a prudent first year position, and then build and expand in 2015 and 2016, as these markets become more established."

The state-based exchanges debuted last fall, helping people buy health insurance. But insurers approached the exchanges cautiously, worried about the health of the people signing up.

"By participating moderately this year and then watching closely and listening, we have learned about pricing, networks, regulatory structure, distribution, and the consumer's mindset regarding public exchanges," Hemsley said.

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