Haven't found the Essay You Want?
For Only $12.90/page

Real Estate Intern Report Essay

The company analyzed and discussed in this analysis is one of many health insurance companies registered under the Security Exchange Commission. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated or commonly referred as, “United Health Group,” or the “Company is the central tenant which this paper will focus on.” The Company, which was formally known as Charter Med Incorporated, was founded by a group of physicians and health care professionals in 1974. Their main objective was to give consumers a broad variety of options on health care coverage. A decade later, UnitedHealth Group becomes publicly traded, concentrating heavily on modern day technology. As a public traded company, UnitedHealth Group can be denoted as their ticker symbol, UNH.

UnitedHealth Group’s core structure posits the goal of helping people live healthier lives by innovating thinking. The foundation of the Company is derived from the best practices in the medical care business. By achieving this goal, UNH uses incorporates an innovative and progressive clientele for their business management team to advance the health of patients. In order to reach out to potential patients, the Company operates under two platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which offers health benefits, and Optum which provides health services. UnitedHealthcare segments include Employer & Individuals, Medicare & Retirement, Community & State and International. In contrast, Optum’s sections consist of OptumHealth, OptumInsight, and OptumRx.

To fully understand the Company’s strategy, we must first understand its mission. UnitedHealth Group mission is “helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p. 1).”After we have establish a sense of understanding, we can further conduct a series of analysis by using tools such as PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, and SWOT analysis. As a result, we will be able to interpret UnitedHealth Group’s strategy and its competitive advantage.

1). Political
A). “The laws and rules governing our business and interpretations of those laws and rules are subject to frequent change, and the integration into our businesses of entities that we acquire may affect the way in which existing laws and rules apply to us…agencies administering, interpreting and enforcing current and future regulations governing our business could force us to change how we do business, restrict revenue and enrollment growth, increase our health care and administrative costs and capital requirements, or expose us to increased liability in courts for coverage determinations, contract interpretation and other actions (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.17).”

B). In general, health care industry is and will continue to be heavily regulated in order to protect consumers. Insurance companies and other identities must be licensed in order to operate and hold jurisdiction where business are practiced. The complexity of regulations impedes companies such as UnitedHealth Group from generating revenue. As a result, the regulations force the Company to change how they do business. For example, UnitedHealth Group signed a contract with the Department of Defense to provide coverage to those in the military who are active or retired. The service known as TRICARE Managed Care Support will serve more than 2.7 million beneficiaries in 21 states (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.4). Thus, the losses leveraged from other services or products did not satisfy proper regulation. 2). Economic

A). “Unfavorable economic conditions may impact demand for certain of our products and services. For example, high unemployment rates have caused and could continue to cause lower enrollment or lower rates of renewal in our employer group plans and our non-employer individual plans (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.25).”

B). Because the economy changes daily, it is impossible to predict the certainty of unemployment rates. Unemployment rates are inversely related to the success of company operations. Simply, if rates increase, then membership levels decrease. To manage the inconsistency of unemployment rates, UnitedHealth Group offers a spectrum of products and services. When the economy is strong, traditional plans that typically “include a full range of medical benefits and network options from managed plans such as Choice and Options PPO” (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.3), tend to
thrive. Conversely, when unemployment is high and the economy is weaker, essential benefits product which offer less than traditional plans but still provide basic services such as guides to physicians, become copious. 3). Sociocultural

A). “As we continue to expand our business outside the United States, acquired foreign businesses, such as Amil, will present challenges that are different from those presented by acquisitions of domestic businesses, including adapting to new markets, business, labor and cultural practices and regulatory environments that are materially different from what we have experienced in our U.S. operations (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.24).”

B).Although the Company’s main operations are in the United States, it has expanded its operations to other nations. Conducting business internationally faces many factors such as “political, economic, legal compliance, regulations, and operational risks and exposures that are unique and vary by jurisdiction (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.17)”. But having already been exposed to these elements in parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia the recent acquisition of Amil, whose services are dispersed throughout Brazil, will face minimal encumbrances. Additionally, Amil’s products and services are much similar to those offered by UnitedHealth Group and thus effortlessly adapting to the new markets. The new market, which consist of over five million people, have been exposed to Amil’s health and dental benefits and have access to 45,000 contracted physicians (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.5). 4). Technology

A). “Our ability to adequately price our products and services, to provide effective service to our customers in an efficient and uninterrupted fashion, and to accurately report our results of operations depends on the integrity of the data in our information systems …technology initiatives and recently enacted regulations, changes in our system platforms and integration of new business acquisitions, we periodically consolidate, integrate, upgrade and expand our information systems capabilities (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.26).”

B). Technology is fundamental to UnitedHealth Group. In their earlier years, the Company provided physicians with office software that managed and controlled cost. Investing in technology can be costly, but for UnitedHealth Group it serves as a competitive advantage. One way UnitedHealth Group stays above average is by utilizing its information system’s user-friendly resources that help consumers control their decision on health care. These resources “provide greater transparency around quality and cost, such as the Premium Designation® program and Health4Me for Apple® and Android® phones, myHealthcareCost Estimator, Health Care Lane and myuhc.com (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.2).” 5). Environmental

A). “Relatively low interest rates on investments, such as those experienced during recent years, have adversely impacted our investment income, and a prolonged low interest rate environment could further adversely affect our investment income…delay in payment of principal and/or interest by issuers, or defaults by issuers, could reduce our net investment income and we may be required to write down the value of our investments, which could materially and adversely affect our profitability and shareholders’ equity (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.25).”

B). As mentioned previously, UnitedHealth Group has an impact in the national and global economy. Due to its operations conducted on the international scale, UnitedHealth Group has significant exposure to environmental factors that directly affect shareholders’ equity. These factors include currency exchange, government intervention, and political instability. Because of the nature of the global economy, the Company must take preventative actions to protect their investments. This is exemplified when one takes note that the Company may choose to allocate its investments into smaller portfolios to help reduce exposure to the market. Additionally, the acquisition of Amil puts pressure on the company’s profitability. Fluctuating currency rates have an adverse effect on the Company’s cash flows. Thus, currency exchange may benefit UnitedHealth Group if not hindered by local government making transfer of funds difficult. 6). Legal

A). “The Health Reform Legislation and the related federal and state regulations will impact how we do business and could restrict revenue and enrollment growth in certain products and market segments, restrict premium growth rates for certain products and market segments, increase our medical and administrative costs, expose us to an increased risk of liability…or put us at risk for loss of business…may also create new or expand existing opportunities for business growth, but due to its complexity, the impact of the Health Reform Legislation remains difficult to predict and is not yet fully known (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.11).”

B). Health care regulations affects the whole industry who range from consumers to providers. Because insurance companies are so controlled, it obstructs the way businesses are run. Regulations that apply to health care companies, such as UnitedHealth Group, increases loss of business. For example, legislation will “includes an annual, non-deductible insurance industry tax to be levied proportionally across the insurance industry for risk-based products (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.35).” As a result, the Company is force to pay an upwards of $8 billion and gradually increasing every year. Porter’s Five Forces

7). Current Competitors (High)
A). “…competitors include Aetna Inc., Cigna Corporation, Coventry Health Care, Inc., Health Net, Inc., Humana Inc., Kaiser Permanente, WellPoint, Inc., numerous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations operating under licenses from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and, with respect to our Brazilian operations, several established competitors in Brazil, and other enterprises that serve more limited geographic areas (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.14).”

B). The companies stated above are a select few who construct the health care insurance industry. The thin selection of insurance companies causes companies to compete highly with each other to gain market shares. Health care insurance companies are much alike offering similar coverage to their clients. In order to have the upper hand, UnitedHealth Group spends an ordeal amount of money on technology to differentiate their products. Thus created plans for members to be “provided access to clinical products with
the goal of helping them make better health care decisions, and thus better use of their medical benefits, with the ultimate goal of improving health and decreasing medical expenses (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.14).” 8). Threat of New Entrants (High)

A). “In particular markets, competitors may have greater capabilities, resources or market share; a more established reputation; superior supplier or health care professional arrangements; better existing business relationships; or other factors that give such competitors a competitive advantage…merger and acquisition activity has occurred in the industries in which we operate, both among our competitors and suppliers…Consolidation may make it more difficult for us to retain or increase our customer base, improve the terms on which we do business with our suppliers, or maintain or increase profitability (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.22).”

B). Due to the limited amount of insurance companies, other companies compete for market shares. Top companies like UnitedHealth Group hold sizable portions in segmented markets. Moreover, mid-size companies merge together in order to increase their shares in the market. Similarly, bigger companies acquire smaller companies to broaden their consumer base such as UnitedHealth Group with Amil. 9). Power of Suppliers (Medium)

A). “We contract with physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical benefit service providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other health care providers for services…Failure to develop and maintain satisfactory relationships with health care providers, whether in-network or out-of-network, could materially and adversely affect our business… (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.22).”

B). A strong connection with suppliers is crucial to the company’s business because it has a strong positive correlation between prospective clients. UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest amongst other insurers and attracts an abundance of health care providers. As a result, an increase in suppliers dilutes their bargaining power. 10). Power of Buyers (High)

A). Under our risk-based benefit product arrangements, we assume the risk of both medical and administrative costs for our customers in return for monthly premiums…The profitability of these products depends in large part on our ability to predict, price for, and effectively manage medical costs (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.16).”

B). It is human nature to desire a variety of choices. Although health care insurance companies are scarce, their products and services are not. In the case of UnitedHealth Group, a full range of services are offered to employers and individuals. As a result, consumers have the choice and power to select a plan that suits them well. “As the commercial market becomes more consumer-oriented, individuals are assuming more personal and financial responsibility for their care, and they are demanding more affordable products, greater transparency and choice and personalized help navigating the complex system (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.2).” Acknowledging this helps UnitedHealth Group to stay competitive. 11). Threat of Substitutes (Low)

A). “Our information systems require an ongoing commitment of significant resources to maintain, protect and enhance existing systems and develop new systems to keep pace with continuing changes in information processing technology, evolving systems and regulatory standards, emerging cyber security risks and threats, and changing customer patterns (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.26).”

B). Technology serves as a great substitute compared to basic products sold by insurance companies. Technology consists of software programs that track your health, new medical treatment devices, and the ever changing Internet. The issue with technology is that it can get very expensive for both the company and the consumer. Therefore, only those who can afford it are amongst a few. Conversely, companies who are not developing new information technology will lose their competitive advantage and ultimately give up their market shares. Consumers are likely to find a cheaper and better alternative otherwise.

12). Strengths
A). “UnitedHealthcare provides network-based health care benefits for a full spectrum of customers in the health benefits market. UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual serves employers ranging from sole proprietorships to large, multi-site and national employers, as well as students and other individuals… (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.1).”

B). UnitedHealth Group sustains a competitive advantage through its diversified products and services. Coverage is offered to large scale employers, military personal, the elderly, and those who cannot afford health care through government sponsorship. The Company reaches to consumers throughout the nation and even internationally. 13). Weaknesses

A). “…legal actions we face or may face in the future could further increase our cost of doing business and materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows…certain legal actions could result in adverse publicity, which could damage our reputation and materially and adversely affect our ability to retain our current business or grow our market share in select markets and businesses (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.23).”

B). The health care industry has have a negative connotation. The public views insurance companies as scammers that rob society. Companies gain a bad reputation when they get investigated by the Government. UnitedHealth Group’s goal is to provide people with healthier lives, not rob them financially. Consequently, “negative publicity may adversely affect our stock price, damage our reputation in various markets or foster an increasingly active regulatory environment, which, in turn, could further increase the regulatory burdens under which we operate and our costs of doing business (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.18).” 14). Opportunities

A). “UnitedHealthcare International acquired Amil, which provides health and dental benefits to over five million people and also operates 22 acute hospitals, as well as specialty clinics, primary care, and emergency
services across Brazil, principally for the benefit of its members (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.5).”

B). The acquisition of Amil will provide UnitedHealth Group with newer market segments, more consumers, and increase the company’s revenue. Amil will also offer diversified product portfolio that contain a range of products offerings, benefit designs, and indemnity products. Furthermore, Amil will include various administrative services which include network access, care management and personal services (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.5). 15). Threats

A). “Several of the provisions in the Health Reform Legislation will likely increase our medical cost trends. Examples of these provisions are the excise tax on medical devices, annual fees on prescription drug manufacturers, enhanced coverage requirements…the prohibition of pre-existing condition exclusions and the implementation of adjusted community rating requirements (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.19).”

B).As mentioned in the PESTEL breakdown, under the analysis of the legal realm, Health Reform Legislation causes a serious threat to the well-being of UnitedHealth Group’s business. Excess taxes take away from the company’s profits thus rendering them unable to reinvest into their company. Lastly, prohibition of excluding pre-existing conditions may increase the risk and medical cost in the future. Competitive Strategy

16a. “We believe the principal competitive factors that can impact our businesses relate to the sales, marketing and pricing of our products and services; product innovation; consumer engagement and satisfaction; the level and quality of products and services; care delivery; network and clinical management capabilities; market share; product distribution systems; efficiency of administration operations; financial strength and marketplace reputation (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.14).”

In order for a company to have sustainable competitive advantage, they must abide their company’s vital principals. UnitedHealth Group does not only accomplish their objective, but they surpass other companies’ strategy. First they exceed in sales by offering premium services such as UnitedHealthcare and Optum products. The company also provides a variety of these products and services ranging from value-oriented plans to essential-oriented plans.

Secondly, UnitedHealth Group has an exclusive network system that only clients have access to. Clients have access to physicians and hospital that meet their unique needs. Moreover, the Company serves to large national employers, public sectors employers, and midsize employers to individuals. As a result, UnitedHealth Group is “providing nearly 27 million Americans access to health care (UnitedHealth Group, Inc. 2012, p.2).”

Lastly, UnitedHealth Group is a massive health insurance company which has enabled them to control ample market shares. Their recent acquisition with Amil shows how strong UnitedHealth Group is financially. Overall, UnitedHealth Group is a leading company in health care insurance proven by their business factors. The Company uses a differentiation strategy to maintain its competitive advantage. Article

UnitedHealth to buy most of Brazil’s Amil for $4.9 billion

The company is making a bold move taking on the fast growing markets of Brazil. UnitedHealth Group has made record on being the first to acquire manage Care Company across seas. The acquisition will bring UnitedHealth Group more leverage and revenue to its operations. “Amil has more than 5 million clients in Brazil and owns 22 hospitals and 50 clinics. It forecast revenues of $5 billion for 2012, up 15 percent from 2011. UnitedHealth had revenues of nearly $102 billion in 2011 and expects the deal to slightly increase its 2013 earnings per share (reuters.com). Ultimately Amil’s operations will be similar to UnitedHealth Group in that it will provide its products and services to new market segments. In addition, “Brazil’s healthcare system consists of public and private plans, similar to the U.S. model. The number of Brazilians covered under private plans has grown more than 50 percent over the past 10 years to nearly 48 million people, roughly a quarter of the country’s population (reuters.com).”

Work Cited
Humer, Caroline. “UnitedHealth to Buy Most of Brazil’s Amil for $4.9 Billion.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 08 Oct. 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2013. UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (2012). Form 10-K 2012. Retrieved from SEC EDGAR website http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

View as multi-pages

Essay Topics:

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email. Please, specify your valid email address

We can't stand spam as much as you do No, thanks. I prefer suffering on my own