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UnitedHealth Group's income, revenue soar; ditching some exchanges

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Stephen Hemsley
Stephen Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, photographed in 2014.
AP 2014

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group reported a first-quarter net income of $1.6 billion, up 14 percent over last year. 

Revenue grew 25 percent to $44.5 billion. CEO Stephen Hemsley told investors UnitedHealth is serving more customers than ever before and that customer retention also is at record levels.

  "Customers buy value and expect results and we are sharpening our performance focus, driving the highest quality customer experiences, helping us become the go-to choice — a must-have partner for everyone looking to improve performance and sustainability in health benefits and health services," Hemsley said in a conference call.

Hemsley sounded an optimistic note as he looked ahead.

  "Our intensified commitments to quality performance and to growth on the strength of that quality positions UnitedHealth Group to look forward toward what we believe may become our best decade of performance and growth yet," he said.  

Hemsley reiterated concerns about the low revenue potential and high risks of selling plans on public health insurance marketplaces, saying the company will scale back and sell on only a handful of the exchanges next year. 

  The company's share price rose as much as 2.7 percent following the earnings report.