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Spread of H1N1, layoffs affect UnitedHealth’s numbers

The spread of job losses and H1N1 flu both affected UnitedHealth Group‘s third-quarter numbers.

The health-insurance giant cited those two factors for explaining why it spent a larger percentage of premium revenue on medical costs during the quarter. Its health plans lost members who lost their jobs, and many of those who remain insured sought flu treatment.

Job losses led to declines in the company’s commercial membership plans, and the decline leads the company to expect 2010 will be “a somewhat more difficult year than 2009,” Dow Jones Newswire reports.

UnitedHealth’s third-quarter profits increased 13 percent, compared with a year ago, Reuters reports. The Associated Press reports CEO Stephen Hemsley faced a “flurry of questions” from one investor who wants to see UnitedHealth pay a larger dividend.

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