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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH)

Analysis of Revenues

Advanced level

Accounting Policy on Revenue Recognition


Premium revenues are primarily derived from risk-based health insurance arrangements in which the premium is typically at a fixed rate per individual served for a one-year period, and UnitedHealth Group assumes the economic risk of funding its customers’ health care and related administrative costs.

Premium revenues are recognized in the period in which eligible individuals are entitled to receive health care benefits. Health care premium payments received from UnitedHealth Group’s customers in advance of the service period are recorded as unearned revenues. Fully insured commercial products of U.S. health plans, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Medicare Part D) plans with medical loss ratios as calculated under the definitions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and related federal and state regulations and implementing regulation, that fall below certain targets are required to rebate ratable portions of their premiums annually. Medicare Advantage premium revenue includes the impact of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) quality bonuses based on plans’ Star ratings.

Premium revenues are recognized based on the estimated premiums earned, net of projected rebates, because UnitedHealth Group is able to reasonably estimate the ultimate premiums of these contracts. UnitedHealth Group also records premium revenues from capitation arrangements at its OptumHealth businesses.

UnitedHealth Group’s Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D premium revenues are subject to periodic adjustment under CMS’ risk adjustment payment methodology. CMS deploys a risk adjustment model that apportions premiums paid to all health plans according to health severity and certain demographic factors. The CMS risk adjustment model provides higher per member payments for enrollees diagnosed with certain conditions and lower payments for enrollees who are healthier. Under this risk adjustment methodology, CMS calculates the risk adjusted premium payment using diagnosis data from hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient and physician treatment settings. UnitedHealth Group and health care providers collect, capture and submit the necessary and available diagnosis data to CMS within prescribed deadlines. UnitedHealth Group estimates risk adjustment premium revenues based upon the diagnosis data submitted and expected to be submitted to CMS. Risk adjustment data for UnitedHealth Group’s plans are subject to review by the government, including audit by regulators.

Products and Services

For UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx pharmacy care services business, the majority of revenues are derived from products sold through a contracted network of retail pharmacies or home delivery, specialty and compounding pharmacy facilities. Product revenues include ingredient costs (net of rebates), a negotiated dispensing fee and customer co-payments for drugs dispensed through UnitedHealth Group’s mail-service pharmacy. In retail pharmacy transactions, revenues recognized exclude the member’s applicable co-payment. Pharmacy products are billed to customers based on the number of transactions occurring during the billing period. Product revenues are recognized when the prescriptions are dispensed through the retail network or received by consumers through UnitedHealth Group’s mail-service pharmacy. UnitedHealth Group has entered into contracts in which it is primarily obligated to pay its network pharmacy providers for benefits provided to their customers regardless of whether UnitedHealth Group is paid. UnitedHealth Group is also involved in establishing the prices charged by retail pharmacies, determining which drugs will be included in formulary listings and selecting which retail pharmacies will be included in the network offered to plan sponsors’ members and accordingly, are reported on a gross basis.

Services revenue consists of fees derived from services performed for customers that self-insure the health care costs of their employees and employees’ dependents. Under service fee contracts, UnitedHealth Group receives monthly, a fixed fee per employee, which is recognized as revenue as UnitedHealth Group performs, or makes available, the applicable services to the customer. The customers retain the risk of financing health care costs for their employees and employees’ dependents, and UnitedHealth Group administers the payment of customer funds to physicians and other health care professionals from customer-funded bank accounts. As UnitedHealth Group has neither the obligation for funding the health care costs, nor the primary responsibility for providing the medical care, UnitedHealth Group does not recognize premium revenue and medical costs for these contracts in its Consolidated Financial Statements. For these fee-based customer arrangements, UnitedHealth Group provides coordination and facilitation of medical services; transaction processing; customer, consumer and care professional services; and access to contracted networks of physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals. These services are performed throughout the contract period.

Revenues are also comprised of a number of services and products sold through Optum. OptumHealth’s service revenues include net patient service revenues that are recorded based upon established billing rates, less allowances for contractual adjustments, and are recognized as services are provided. For its financial services offerings, OptumHealth charges fees and earns investment income on managed funds. OptumInsight provides software and information products, advisory consulting arrangements and services outsourcing contracts, which may be delivered over several years. OptumInsight revenues are generally recognized over time and measured each period based on the progress to date as services are performed or made available to customers.

As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, accounts receivables related to products and services were $3.9 billion and $3.7 billion, respectively. In 2018 and 2017, UnitedHealth Group had no material bad-debt expense and there were no material contract assets, contract liabilities or deferred contract costs recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as of December 31, 2018 or 2017.

For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, revenue recognized from performance obligations related to prior periods (for example, due to changes in transaction price) was not material.

Revenue expected to be recognized in any future year related to remaining performance obligations, excluding revenue pertaining to contracts that have an original expected duration of one year or less, contracts where revenue is recognized as invoiced and contracts with variable consideration related to undelivered performance obligations, is not material.

Source: 10-K (filing date: 2019-02-12).

Revenues as Reported

UnitedHealth Group Inc., Income Statement, Revenues

US$ in millions

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
12 months ended Dec 31, 2018 Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014
UnitedHealthcare hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
OptumHealth hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
OptumInsight hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
OptumRx hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Optum hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Revenues, external customers hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden

Based on: 10-K (filing date: 2019-02-12), 10-K (filing date: 2018-02-13), 10-K (filing date: 2017-02-08), 10-K (filing date: 2016-02-09), 10-K (filing date: 2015-02-10).

Item Description The company
Revenues, external customers Amount of revenue recognized from goods sold, services rendered, insurance premiums, or other activities that constitute an earning process. Includes, but is not limited to, investment and interest income before deduction of interest expense when recognized as a component of revenue, and sales and trading gain (loss). UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s revenues, external customers increased from 2016 to 2017 and from 2017 to 2018.