UnitedHealth upped its full-year adjusted profit projection on Thursday after topping analysts' expectations for third-quarter results, thanks to a boost in revenue from its Optum prescription benefit management subsidiary.

When U.S. health insurers have been grappling with variable medical costs since the coronavirus outbreak, the Optum division, which provides healthcare data analytics services, has been generating growth for the company.

UnitedHealth  reported a medical loss ratio of 83.0 % for the three months ended September 30, up from 81.9 % a year earlier. Analysts had predicted an 83.5 % increase.

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The fast-spreading Delta variety caused a spike in infections in the country in July and August, prompting hospitals in certain areas to reschedule non-urgent medical operations, whereas COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions fell in September.

Optum's revenue increased by 13.9 % to $39.8 billion. For at least the last four quarters, the segment has experienced revenue increase.

UnitedHealth's core business, which provides health insurance plans, generated $55.9 billion in sales, up 11% from a year ago, thanks to increasing enrolment across the board, including its Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly and disabled.

The business generated earnings per share of $4.52, exceeding analysts' expectations of $4.41. UnitedHealth's adjusted earnings per share prediction for 2021 has been revised to a range of $18.65 to $18.90, up from $18.30 to $18.80 before.