This excerpt taken from the UNH 10-K filed Feb 11, 2009.
Goodwill represents the amount by which the purchase price of businesses the Company has acquired exceeds the estimated fair value of the net tangible assets and separately identifiable intangible assets of these businesses.
In accordance with FAS 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, the Company tests goodwill for impairment at the reporting unit level (operating segment or one level below an operating segment) on January 1st of each year or more frequently if it believes indicators of impairment exist. The Company has eleven reporting units at December 31, 2008. The performance of the test involves a two-step process. The first step of the impairment test involves comparing the fair values of the applicable reporting units with their aggregate carrying values,
NOTES TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS(Continued)
including goodwill. The Company generally determines the fair value of its reporting units utilizing a discounted cash flow method, an income approach. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds the reporting units fair value, the Company performs the second step of the goodwill impairment test to determine the amount of impairment loss. The second step of the goodwill impairment test involves comparing the implied fair value of the affected reporting units goodwill with the carrying value of that goodwill.
The income approach utilized by the Company requires the use of various estimates and assumptions, the most significant of which include forecasted cash flows, weighted average cost of capital, terminal value, long-term growth rates, and working capital requirements. The Company conducted its most recent impairment test on January 1, 2009 and has determined there to be no impairment of the carrying values of goodwill as of December 31, 2008.