MINNETONKA, Minn. — UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s second-quarter net income rose almost 8 percent, buoyed by steady enrollment growth and slower-than-expected use of health care services.

The nation's largest health insurer's earnings topped Wall Street estimates on Thursday, and it raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast. The company's stock jumped nearly 6 percent.

But company executives continued to warn that federal cuts to the Medicare Advantage program would put pressure on the company in 2014 and beyond.

When private insurers first entered the Medicare program in the late 1990s, federal officials widely assumed companies would lower costs with their managed-care strategies. But the privately run Medicare Advantage programs ultimately grew more expensive than the traditional government-run program. The Obama health care overhaul aims to equalize funding levels for Medicare Advantage and the government program.

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