UnitedHealth Touts Clinical Assets in 2Q Earnings Call

UnitedHealth Group — which in recent months has been tightening the screws on spending drivers like unnecessary emergency care and out-of-network utilization — is signaling that its greater goal for cost containment comprises much more than simply site-of-care management. Rather, the diversified managed care company’s emphasis on its care-delivery assets during its second-quarter earnings conference call may suggest that UnitedHealth is increasingly pursuing the strategy of “if you can’t beat them, own them.”

“I think you’re really starting to see OptumHealth…starting to demonstrate [its] capacity for growth because of the scale of the footprint that they now [have] established across the country,” UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty said of the company’s health services division during a July 15 call to discuss quarterly earnings.

“And I think you’re starting to see these businesses move into a kind of critical mass dynamic,” he continued, saying that is reflected in OptumHealth’s overall growth as well as “this rapid expansion of OptumHealth revenue per consumer, [which is] up 40% this quarter.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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