The UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) subsidiary Optum Health has emerged as one of the largest players in home-based care, primary care and other health care services. Nevertheless, the company sees vast market opportunities on the road ahead.
Optum Health currently serves more than 4.1 million patients in value-based care arrangements across all of its clinical business lines. This reflects patient census growth of about 900,000 people during 2023. The company in Q4 of last year saw a 33.9% increase in revenue year-over-year, reaching in excess of $24.5 million.
But despite the size of its patient population, Optum sees avenues for further growth on the horizon, according to UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty.
“By the end of this year Optum Health will grow to serve at least another 750,000 patients under such [value-based] arrangements for a total of more than twice the number of people we served just two years ago,” Witty said in an earnings call. “Yet, even with the strong growth and significant investments we’ve made, the market presence is still quite modest, and the opportunity expansive. The 4 million patients served are just a small fraction of the many more people whose health ultimately will benefit from these models of care.”
Among those models is an emphasis on care delivered in the home. UnitedHealth Group is positioning its subsidiary as a cornerstone of its growing home-based care infrastructure and expansion of value-based service delivery, as evidenced by the company’s recent acquisitions.
Optum in June penned an agreement to acquire Amedisys in an all-cash transaction of $101 per share, or about $3.3 billion. This followed its $5.4 billion acquisition of LHC Group, which closed in February.
In addition to expanding its home health, hospice and palliative care offerings, the company is leveraging care coordination and transitional care services to manage patients with chronic or serious illnesses as well as prevent hospitalizations and readmissions, Optum CEO Dr. Amar Desai indicated during a November 2023 investors conference.
“We serve more than 4 million people in fully accountable arrangements today. By this time next year, we expect to grow to nearly 5 million,” Desai said at the conference. “We’ll do this by deepening our capabilities and in communities and presence where we already have Optum capabilities while continuing to expand in new geographies and further integrating care for patients along every step of their journey, ensuring patients can receive care where and when they prefer.”
Parent company UnitedHealth Group saw 14.6% revenues growth during 2023, reaching $371.6 billion.
Going forward, the insurance and health care behemoth will continue to be all-in on aligning patients in fully accountable, value-based arrangements.
“Value-based care for us is a proven way of overcoming many of the widely recognized shortcomings of a fee-for-service-based health system, such as fragmented consumer experiences and incentives that can emphasize volume over quality,” Witty said during the earnings call.