Optum again a big revenue driver for

UnitedHealth Group posted strong fourth-quarter earnings led by double-digit growth in its Optum division.

The largest U.S. health insurer posted fourth quarter net income on Wednesday of $4.07 billion, or $4.26. Removing one-time benefits and charges, per-share earnings were $4.48, or 18 cents better than expected on Wall Street, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue, at $73.74 billion, also topped expectations.

UnitedHealth Group Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minn., runs UnitedHealthcare, a health insurance business that covers more than 48 million people mostly in the United States.

Its Optum segment runs one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management operations as well as a growing number of clinics and urgent care and surgery centers.

Optum served 100 million people in 2021, up from 98 million the previous year. Revenue per consumer in that business increased 33 percent.

Revenue for all of 2021 rose almost 12 percent to $287.6 billion, and earnings from operations were $24 billion, with the Optum businesses making up more than half of that total.

Shares rose less than 1 percent before the opening bell Wednesday.

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