25 things to know about UnitedHealth Group

Here are 25 things to know about UnitedHealth Group, which operates the largest single health insurer in the U.S.

Company basics

1. Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group was founded in 1974 under the name Charter Med by a group of healthcare professionals and physicians. 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. Stephen Hemsley leads UnitedHealth Group as CEO. He has held this position since Nov. 30, 2006. He previously served as president and COO of UnitedHealth Group and joined the company in 1997.  

4. UnitedHealth Group employs approximately 260,000 individuals worldwide.

5. Through its UnitedHealthcare and Optum arms, UnitedHealth Group provides medical benefits to people in all 50 U.S. states and more than 125 other countries.

6. The company invests about $2.9 billion annually in technology and innovation and processes more than 600 billion digital transactions annually.

Financial reports

7. UnitedHealth Group reported revenues of $47.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, a year-over-year increase of 8.9 percent. UnitedHealth's full-year 2016 revenues of $184.8 billion grew 17.6 percent year-over-year. The insurer said revenue growth was broad-based and balanced, reflecting growing product and service offerings demand.

8. When it released its fourth-quarter earnings, the company affirmed its financial outlook for 2017, including estimated revenues of $197 billion to $199 billion and adjusted net earnings of $9.30 per share to $9.60 per share.

UnitedHealthcare and value-based care

9. UnitedHealthcare is the insurance arm of UnitedHealth Group and the largest single health carrier in the U.S. UnitedHealth Group President David Wichmann oversees UnitedHealthcare's domestic and international businesses. He assumed the position of president of UnitedHealth Group in November 2014. He previously served as the company's CFO from 2011 to mid-2016.

10. UnitedHealthcare benefit offerings include commercial, individual, family, dental and small business plans, Medicare, short-term health insurance and Medicaid.

11. The insurer's medical membership was 48.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2016. In 2016, UnitedHealthcare's enrollment grew by 2.2 million year-over-year due to growth in the insurer's commercial, Medicare and Medicaid offerings.

12. UnitedHealthcare's revenue increased 15.5 percent year-over-year to $37.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. The insurer's full-year 2016 revenue grew 13.1 percent year-over-year to $148.6 billion, up from $131.3 billion.

13. As of November 2016, UnitedHealthcare was spending $52 billion on value-based contracts, representing a tripling of its total payments to physicians and hospitals tied to value-based arrangements over the past three years. The insurer hopes to increase its spend on value-based care to $65 billion by 2018.

14. There are 1,100 hospitals and 110,000 physicians participating in UnitedHealthcare value-based programs. Fifteen million UnitedHealthcare members nationwide access care from physicians in value-based models.


15. 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 platforms — OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx — providing services for health management, advisory consulting and pharmacy benefit management services, respectively.

16. Optum, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., has more than 100,000 employees in North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.  

17. Optum serves 115 million individuals and four out of five hospitals. It has a network of more than 67,000 pharmacies and more than 100,000 physicians, practices and other healthcare facilities. Optum also serves about 300 health plans. It serves government agencies in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

18. Optum saw revenue increase 1.4 percent year-over-year to $22.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. For full-year 2016, Optum revenues grew 23.7 percent from $67.6 billion to $83.6 billion, reflecting double-digit percentage growth at OptumHealth and OptumInsight.

19. Optum and Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates announced merger plans earlier this year, with the transaction slated to close in the first half of 2017.  


20. More than 800 ACOs use UnitedHealthcare's network of physicians. UnitedHealth Group plans to launch a national ACO called NexusACO this year. The NexusACO is marketed as a product with a national network. It already has providers in 15 markets signed on to start in 2017, from Richmond, Va., to Chicago to Denver to Los Angeles.

21. UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin and Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care teamed up for an ACO for more than 40,000 Milwaukee residents with Medicare Advantage in June 2016. Under the agreement, Aurora Health Care, an integrated health system covering 30 different communities in Wisconsin and northern Illinois, will collaborate with UnitedHealthcare to better coordinate patient care, manage chronic conditions and encourage healthy lifestyles.

Rankings and ratings

22. UnitedHealth Group ranked No. 1 on Fortune's "World's Most Admired Companies" list in the insurance and managed care section in 2016.

23. UnitedHealthcare plans were ranked No. 1 for member satisfaction in the Ohio region, according to the annual J.D. Power Member Health Plan Study in 2016. The payer also ranked in second place in California.

24. According to athenahealth's PayerView 2016 report, UnitedHealthcare came in at 96 out of 214 payers. The report ranks payer performance based on accounts receivable, first-pass claim resolution rate, denial rate and provider collection burden, among other metrics.

UnitedHealth Group in the news

25. To limit its financial exposure in 2017, the insurer exited all but a "handful" of ACA marketplaces in 2017. In 2016, the payer offered on exchange health plans in 34 states. 

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