UnitedHealth sees profits from more than insurance

The nation’s biggest health insurer made most of its money in the fourth quarter by selling things other than health insurance, including drug plans, doctor practices and data analysis.

UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division, which manages prescription drug plans, runs doctor practices and analyzes health care data, generated slightly more of a profit than the company’s traditional business of selling insurance.

Health insurance still brought in most of UnitedHealth’s revenue. But analysts who follow the company see more growth potential in Optum and its array of products focused on cutting costs and improving health care, topics more Americans are concerned with as medical costs rise faster than wages and inflation every year.

Optum services also include software that helps manage revenue and patient care, and it has started expanding into foreign markets like the United Kingdom. UnitedHealth spent about $12 billion several years ago to bolster Optum’s pharmacy benefits management business, just as demand started increasing for ways to control soaring prescription drug costs.

Optum also employs or contracts with more than 20,000 doctors and runs primary and urgent care centers. Earlier this month, it said it would add a few thousand more physicians by spending $2.3 billion to buy Surgical Care Affiliates, which runs surgery centers.

Read the full story at the Leader-Telegram: UnitedHealth sees profits from more than insurance – Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

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