UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest managed healthcare companies, raised its guidance for the year after it saw a 12.4 percent jump in year-over-year revenue growth, climbing to $56.6 billion during the third quarter in 2018.
With strong earnings for the quarter, executives were bullish on the healthcare organization’s growth and outlined its plan for 2019, including a new health record platform.
The company made two acquisitions in the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) space during the quarter, after acquiring Genoa for $2.5 billion and Avella for an undisclosed amount. The two companies will add to the portfolio of OptumRx, UnitedHealth’s large PBM business.
The company served 2.8 million more consumers year-over-year in the third quarter of 2018, with greater membership in higher acuity programs.
More than 50 million people will be covered through UnitedHealthcare’s multiple plans in 2019, according to Steve Nelson, CEO at the company’s health insurance business UnitedHealthcare, who spoke about the company’s future during a third quarter earnings call with analysts Tuesday. The company also covers more than 4.5 million through its Medicare Advantage plans. UnitedHealthcare maintains it saves more than 20 percent compared to traditional Medicare, and as much as 30 percent in its higher performing markets, Nelson told investors during the call.
UnitedHealth Group announced it is paying almost $69 billion of its annual reimbursement to doctors and hospitals in value-based care models—about half of its total annual reimbursements. The company has a goal for $75 billion by 2020, executives said during the quarterly call.
Some of the company’s most successful value-based payment contracts have been with accountable care organizations, according to Dan Schumacher, president and chief operating officer at UnitedHealthcare.
“We’ve had some very successful outcomes with our ACO partners,” he said. “In total, we’ve got about 1,000 ACOs underway.”
Health records push
The healthcare company is also taking on an ambitious initiative to release fully portable electronic health records at scale. The company has been working on developing individual health records for its 50 million fully benefited members since November 2017.
Its new digital health platform, Rally, already has 20 million registered users. The company plans to continue rolling out its platform, which is run by its technology and information business Optum.
“Rally is synthesizing information and engaging people to better manage their health, helping consumers save money by selecting the highest quality care providers, understanding their out-of-pocket costs upfront, and in some markets even scheduling appointments for care,” David Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, said during the call. “We will soon be releasing at scale, a first-of-kind fully integrated and fully portable individual health record that delivers personalized next best health actions to people and their caregivers.”
The platform gives users online and mobile solutions to manage healthcare demands. It gives individuals their health record and the next best action detail, making it “deeply personalized,” Wichmann said.
“It’s organized around them—not based upon generic criteria,” he said.
For providers, the tool looks like their EHR, but provides this information to reduce gaps in care and leverage best action plans. Wichmann also referred to the technology as “transformative” across the organization.