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UnitedHealth’s 4Q profit rises 10 percent
San Francisco Chronicle

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit rose 10 percent, trumping Wall Street expectations, as premiums climbed and a drop in health care use continued to help the insurer.

The Minnetonka, Minn., insurer said fewer people used the health care system in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter of 2009, a trend that also helped insurers in the third quarter. That, plus improvements in claims payment accuracy, helped push down the percentage of premiums the insurer paid on medical care in the quarter.