Humana raises 2019 profit forecast as Medicare Advantage unit flourishes

Earnings

The Humana headquarters office stands in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. health insurer Humana reported a third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates on Wednesday on higher sales of its government-backed Medicare Advantage health plans and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $5.03, adjusted, vs. $4.58 expected
  • Revenue: $16.24 billion vs. $16.15 billion expected

Sales from the company’s retail unit, which includes Medicare plans, rose 16.7% to $14.09 billion. The unit is the biggest contributor to Humana’s revenue.

The company raised its full-year adjusted earnings per share forecast to about $17.75, ahead of the average analyst estimate of $17.64 and its prior forecast of about $17.60.

Humana’s consolidated benefits expense ratio, the percentage of premiums spent on claims, worsened to 85% in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from 82% last year. Analysts had expected 84.77%. A lower ratio is better for health insurers.

Net income rose to $689 million, or $5.14 per share from $644 million, or $4.65 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $5.03 per share, beating estimates of $4.58 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue rose 14.3% to $16.24 billion above estimates of $16.15 billion.

Read the complete earnings release here.

CNBC contributed to this report.

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