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Less-Crowded Covid Wards Can Keep Boosting Insurers

While a distressingly high number of Americans are still being hospitalized daily for Covid-19, the number has dropped off significantly in recent months. That has helped drive a 28% increase in profits for the nation’s largest health insurer in the third quarter, and there are other factors boosting growth too.

From a financial standpoint, fewer hospitalizations have benefited margins for UnitedHealth Group. The healthcare and insurance giant raised its profit outlook for the year Friday after posting a 12% increase in third-quarter revenue and handily beating analysts’ consensus estimates. Its shares rose moderately Friday during a very weak session for stocks overall.