UnitedHealth Group began the first quarter of 2021 on a high note, reporting earnings per share (EPS) and a medical loss ratio (MLR) that both beat the Wall Street consensus estimate and saying it expects to achieve greater full-year earnings than it previously estimated. However — mirroring much of the messaging last year when the COVID-19 pandemic was massively depressing routine and elective care — executives warned that the majority of the unfavorable COVID impact they’re expecting will transpire in the second half of the year.
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