‘Days Claims Payable’ Dip Clouds UnitedHealth’s 1Q Earnings

  • Apr 21, 2023

    Although UnitedHealth Group’s executives touted “strong and well-balanced” growth in the first quarter of 2023, the company’s stock dropped following its April 14 earnings report. Equities analysts suggested that a decline in the days claims payable (DCP) metric led to the sell-off, as well as concerns about Medicare Advantage-related business risks — but their views differ about how concerned investors should be. 

    SVB Securities analyst Whit Mayo, for example, suggested in an April 17 research note that the risks to UnitedHealth’s valuation are overblown.  

    The company’s first-quarter results “brought forth continued themes of consistency, strong MA and self-funded growth, along with noticeable top-line strength within Optum Health,” Mayo wrote. “Noise around trend, lower DCP, 2024 MA risk balanced against the recent run-up, and a historically high relative valuation premium presumably pushed shares lower on Friday,” he suggested, but added that “1Q results generally and historically present few new details to reshape investors’ views on the full-year earnings curve for the sector.” 

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  • Leslie Small

    Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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