UnitedHealth Group, during its annual investor conference, detailed several key strategic initiatives and provided a financial outlook for 2024. The company expects to achieve earnings between $27.50 and $28 per share, marking an increase from the projected $24.85 to $25 per share for 2023. Additionally, UnitedHealth estimates its 2024 revenue to be between $400 billion and $403 billion.
CEO Andrew Witty highlighted the company’s substantial job applications, with over 3.9 million people applying for positions at UnitedHealth over the past year, indicating strong interest in the company’s mission and operations. UnitedHealth currently employs about 450,000 people.
The conference focused on several critical areas:
- Medicare Advantage Changes: UnitedHealthcare, the health plan arm of the company, is the largest player in the Medicare Advantage market. The company plans to add between 350,000 and 375,000 members to its Medicare Advantage plans in 2024, aiming for a total enrollment of about 8 million. Witty noted that the rate notice issued earlier in the year had a significant impact on revenue, affecting the medical cost ratio. The team has been working on strategies to mitigate these reimbursement changes while maintaining stable benefits.
- Optum Health’s Growth: Optum Health, a major growth engine for UnitedHealth Group, was a significant topic at the conference. Employing 130,000 physicians and clinicians across 2,700 care sites, Optum Health is expected to post double-digit revenue growth in 2024, with an operating margin between 8% and 10%. The focus is on expanding fully accountable value-based care models, currently treating more than 4 million patients. Optum’s integrated care model, including in-home and virtual care options, aims to improve patient outcomes and experiences.
- Provider Enablement through Practice Extend: Optum Insight, the data analytics arm of Optum, introduced Practice Extend, a solution designed to support independent primary care practices in transitioning to value-based care. This program provides data assistance, scheduling, and referral support, and is part of UnitedHealth’s broader strategy to innovate and bring solutions to the market.
UnitedHealth’s approach to innovation and operational efficiency, as discussed at the conference, reflects its commitment to adapting to industry changes and positioning itself for sustained growth in the coming years.