UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) executives highlighted key growth drivers for the company during a conference call Thursday morning on financial results for the second quarter of 2021. Executives have focused on three main areas of investment, one of which continues to rely on Optum, its home care provider.
UnitedHealth Group has been one of the most active payers when it comes to investing in home care, launching a home visit program years ago, and expanding its in-home portfolio through several recent acquisitions. They put a lot of trust in Optum, along with its ability to serve members at home, UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Whitty said on the call.
Whitty took over the position of CEO in February, replacing former CEO David Wichmann.
“We continue to prioritize three key issues that we believe will underpin the next era of growth for our company, and the first is to develop collaboration opportunities within and between Optum and UnitedHealthcare,” said Whitty. “A good example of how we are bundling our collective strengths on a large scale is the Optum platform for home and community care, through which we care for almost 10 million people.”
Headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Optum is a population health focused UnitedHealth company that has recently made waves in various home care sectors. Optum’s “HouseCalls” line delivered 1.65 million home visits in 2020 in addition to over 119,000 virtual visits.
Optum reportedly reached an agreement to acquire the comprehensive home care organization Landmark Health in early 2021, although the transaction was not officially announced. The acquisition of Huntington Beach, California-based Landmark – a home health care provider – would greatly enhance the company’s already robust home care capabilities.
Optum also recently acquired naviHealth, a provider of advanced data and analytics to help patients get patients into post-acute care, including the home.
The company offers comprehensive post-acute care for “minor transitions to the home” as well as integrated basic and behavioral care for Medicare Advantage (MA) patients who prefer home care.
“The home and community platform services can cut post-acute medical care costs by a quarter, unnecessary readmissions by up to a fifth, and hospital admissions by up to 25 percent,” said Whitty.
Optum’s revenue for the second quarter was $ 38.3 billion, an increase of over 17% year over year. In total, it served 99 million people during that time.
According to the company’s financial statements, this is due, among other things, to the expansion of value-based care and increased home care for patients.
“Revenue per consumer increased 43%, reflecting the impact of accountability and our growing home and community health services platform combined with the increasing complexity of the needs we serve,” said John Rex, CFO of UnitedHealth, on the conference call .
HouseCalls doctors made over 1.1 million home visits in the first half of 2021, more than twice as many as in 2020 over the same period.
UnitedHealth’s total revenue for the quarter was $ 71.3 billion, up 15% year over year.
In addition to working with Optum, the other two “themes” for future growth were applying technology to improve patient care and experience, and strengthening consumer focus, skills and value.