20 things to know about UnitedHealth Group

From providing health coverage for 48.4 million people as the largest payer in the country to reaching 127 million individuals through health services and provider solutions, here are 20 things to know about UnitedHealth Group. 

Company Basics

1. Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group was founded by a group of healthcare professionals and physicians in 1974 as Charter Med. Three years later, United HealthCare Corp. was created and became the parent of Charter Med.

2. The company significantly realigned its operations in 1998 to include five independent businesses — UnitedHealthcare, Ovations, Uniprise, Specialized Care Services and Ingenix. As a result, United HealthCare Corp. was renamed to UnitedHealth Group.

3. Andrew Witty leads UnitedHealth Group as CEO. Formerly the CEO of Optum, Mr. Witty later served as UnitedHealth's president in 2019 and later as a company director. He became CEO in 2021 after taking over from David Wichmann, who retired.

4. UnitedHealth Group employs about 340,000 people worldwide.

5. Through its UnitedHealthcare and Optum arms, UnitedHealth Group provides medical benefits to people in all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 other countries.

6. The company processed nearly $1 trillion in global gross billed charges and managed over $250 billion in aggregate health care spending in 2020.

Financial Reports

7. UnitedHealth Group reported revenues of $72.3 billion in the third quarter of 2021, a year-over-year increase of 11 percent. The growth was characterized by double-digit development from both UnitedHealthcare and Optum and the decreased influence of COVID-19 on finances. 

8. UnitedHealth's full-year revenue outlook for 2021 is $287 billion, but the payer anticipates upwards of $320 billion in annual revenue by 2022.


9. UnitedHealthcare is the insurance arm of UnitedHealth Group and the largest single health carrier in the U.S. The payer is led by Brian Thompson, who began to oversee UnitedHealthcare's domestic and international businesses in April 2021. He previously served as the company's CEO of government programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.

10. UnitedHealthcare benefit offerings include commercial, individual, family, dental and small and large business plans, Medicare and Medicaid.

11. The insurer's medical membership was 48.4 million as of December 2020. In 2021's third quarter, the payer recorded 790,000 new members, reaching a total of 2 million new members in 2021. This places UnitedHealthcare's total medical membership around 50.4 million as it ends 2021 — in line with its 2020 estimates. 

12. UnitedHealthcare's revenue increased 11 percent year-over-year to $55.9 billion in the third quarter of 2021. 


13. UnitedHealth Group also operates Optum, a health services platform that includes solutions for population health management, care delivery and clinical and operational improvement. Optum features three core platforms — OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx — providing services for health management, advisory consulting and pharmacy benefit management services, respectively.

14. Optum, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., has 165,000 employees worldwide. 

15. Optum serves 127 million individuals and 200 health plans. It has a network of more than 67,000 pharmacies through OptumRx.

16. OptumRx managed $105 billion in drug spending in 2020, with $46 billion in specialty pharmaceutical spending. 

17. Optum saw revenue increase 13.9 percent year-over-year to $39.8 billion in the third quarter of 2021, which was paired with a 1 million increase in people served. Of its three main arms, OptumInsights and OptumRx saw 12 percent and 6 percent year-over-year growth, respectively. 

Rankings, Ratings and Awards

18. UnitedHealth Group is ranked No. 8 on the 2021 Fortune Global 500 list. It also ranked No. 5 in the U.S. 500 list based on 2020 revenue. 

19. The company also earned the top spot on Fortune's 2021 World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 11th straight year in a row. It also earned an "All-Star" designation. 

20. UnitedHealth Group has also consistently made the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indices since 1999. In 2021, it placed second globally only behind Microsoft.

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