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UnitedHealth sees Obamacare and Medicare costs, then growth

Reuters, January 17, 2014
UnitedHealth Group Inc said on Thursday implementing Obamacare and private Medicare funding cuts will eat into 2014 profit but the government-paid insurance business will drive growth as more people sign up. UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer, reported fourth-quarter profit a beat higher than analyst expectations, but its shares and those of major competitors fell anyway as investors focused on costs. "It's rare that United stock doesn't go down on earnings day," said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst for CRT Capital. "I think what the Street did see was that the medical cost ratio was a bit higher than folks thought."