Revenue up, profits down -- that seems to be the mantra for health-insurance companies this quarter. UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) said it last week, and Coventry Health Care (NYSE:CVH) was hot on its tail with more of the same on Friday.

Coventry saw revenue grow an astounding 28%, thanks in large part to a 36% jump in the number of members enrolled in its Medicare programs since the year-ago quarter.

Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. Like the other health insurers, Coventry is dealing with medical costs rising faster than it expected. The company shelled out 85.8% of premiums to pay for health services in the second quarter, compared to just 79.6% in the year-ago quarter. Those higher operating costs lead to a 45% drop in earnings.

The good news for the Stock Advisor pick is that all of this was expected. Coventry lowered guidance in June, and the $0.55 per share it earned in the second quarter was in that newly lowered range. Going forward, Coventry is looking for earnings per share of $3.65 to $3.75 -- just a little off the $3.98 it earned last year.

With its stock heading toward a 50% haircut since the beginning of the year, Coventry figured now was as good a time as any to deploy some of the cash it's been saving up. The company repurchased 1 million shares during the quarter and has the authority to repurchase almost another 10 million if the price remains right.

With Humana (NYSE:HUM), Aetna (NYSE:AET), and Cigna (NYSE:CI) all off by at least 30% since the beginning of the year, expect buybacks from those companies as well when they report second-quarter earnings in the coming weeks -- in addition to a continuation of the “higher revenue, lower earnings” mantra.

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UnitedHealth Group is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. UnitedHealth and Coventry are active Stock Advisor picks. Start a 30-day risk-free trial to the newsletter service and see all of the Gardner brothers' current recommendations.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.