UnitedHealth Arm Rolls Out Enhanced Health Plans for 2021

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s UNH business, UnitedHealthcare, recently unveiled Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans for the next year. The health care provider boasts a strong Medicare Advantage network across the United States, wherein it provides coverage to more than 6.5 million people under the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans. Shares of UnitedHealth Group lost 0.3% on Oct 2, replicating the declines in the broader markets.

The company’s 2021 Medicare Advantage plans will be backed by certain enhanced features. This is likely to enable UnitedHealth Group to undergo the largest footprint extension across the United States in the past five years. Also, with the enhanced health plans, the firm intends to expand its presence across nearly 300 counties, thereby catering to an additional 3.2 million customers. During the course of Medicare Annual Enrollment from Oct 15 to Dec 7, the company’s members can modify their Medicare coverage.

Notable Features of the Health Plans

These health plans are equipped with $0 copays for telehealth visits, labs, routine vision and hearing exams, colonoscopies, mammograms and cardiac rehab. Majority of the plans will have access to a program — HouseCalls — which provides members an annual home visit of a licensed clinician. The health care provider anticipates completing around 1.7 million HouseCalls for its members. Many health plans, which also include HMOs, will have access to the leading Medicare Advantage Network of UnitedHealthcare.

Moreover, members enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage, who have critical health care needs and chronic diseases can avail Navigate4Me, which intends to provide improved health outcomes. The same service can also help members suffering from COVID-19, as it ensures not only proper supply of food and medication after isolation but also ensures a safer quarantine. The UnitedHealthcare navigator is likely to be available to 1 million people by 2020-end.

The health plans for the next year not only intends to offer expanded market reach and improved health outcomes but also assures lower costs. Case in point, most of the company’s Medicare Advantage members will be benefited by stable or reduced premiums. Also, around 2.5 million members will be entitled to $0 Medicare Advantage premiums in the next year. Most of the health plans will be backed by prescription drug coverage.

The health plans will also venture outside of Original Medicare to include dental, vision and fitness care. Notably, UnitedHealthcare boasts a strong vision network, and also has launched teledentistry services aimed at oral health improvements of members.

Additionally, the 2021 health plans will be equipped with Renew Active Fitness Program, which provides access to a broad network of participating gyms and fitness locations. UnitedHealthcare, through its Medicare Supplement plans, also intends to benefit eligible members across 35 states in 2021 with value-added programs and features without incurring any additional cost.

Furthermore, UnitedHealthcare has been introducing newer cost-effective health plans. Recently, the company expanded its relationship with Saint Luke’s Health System and Children’s Mercy Kansas City, which has resulted in the development of a health plan — the Core Essential plan. It has also extended ties with Canopy Health last month, the result being the California Doctors Plan.

The health care provider has been making efforts to enhance existing suite of telehealth services. With stringent social distancing measures being observed on account of the coronavirus, patients have been compelled to resort to telehealth services in order to avail medical help.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) health care provider have gained 41% in a year, outperforming the industry’s growth of 30.1%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other health care providers like Humana Inc. HUM and Cigna Corporation CI have also recently rolled out their 2021 Medicare Advantage plans.

Another stock in the medical space, Teladoc Health Inc. TDOC is a niche player in the telehealth service industry with wide offerings and international reach.

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