Pharmacy benefit management (PBM)

UnitedHealth Group beats profit estimates again

A building with a UnitedHealthcare sign in front at nighttime
UnitedHealthcare covers 39 million Americans in full-scale medical plans. Photo: UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group's second-quarter profit increased by 13% year over year to $3.3 billion, and revenue in the quarter rose to almost $61 billion as the health care giant restrained how much it paid for medical and pharmacy claims and sold more of its technology and consulting services.

The bottom line: UnitedHealth, on its own, now represents more than 6% of the entire health care economy. The company's footprint and control of the premium dollar will only grow as it acquires more doctors.

Health care middlemen surge on rebate rule death

Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump's decision to withdraw the rule that would've overhauled behind-the-scenes drug rebates led to huge stock gains yesterday for health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, which have suffered since the rule was first proposed in January.

The big picture: The health care industry's largest middlemen dodged a giant bullet since rebates are an important part of their businesses. But they are not out of danger, as states and Congress are working to change how they influence the price of drugs.