The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a worldwide economic slowdown, and many investors are being cautious. However, there are still opportunities for investors, and one such area is in telemedicine stocks.
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Top Telemedicine Stocks
The coronavirus outbreak naturally has most people concerned about their health, and with current social distancing rules, people are unable to leave their homes freely, or not want to visit their doctor’s surgery.
Telehealth allows people to get medical services through digital communication channels and can contact a licensed medical professional through a website or app.
The appointment process is very much like seeing a doctor in person. The patient discusses their symptoms with the doctor, the doctor performs an exam via the telephone or video call, and then a treatment plan is created. This can include a prescription if required.
Withstanding the benefits of not encountering others who could be infected, accessing telehealth organizations saves time and money. The average virtual doctor visit is $45.
Why Telemedicine Stocks Are Performing Well
Telemedicine stocks are currently doing well for a few reasons.
- Since Vice President Mike Pence stated in March that insurers would foot the bill for telemedicine services, stocks have soared. CNN Business reports, “Pence says insurers will cover telemedicine. This stock is soaring”.
- The coronavirus pandemic is triggering people to get online medical support and has become another catalyst to support this type of stock.
- As people are suffering reduced incomes, they may not be able to afford more expensive healthcare.
- Telemedicine stocks are being sought and pushing the price up further.
- The telemedicine industry leaders are doing particularly well, possibly because insurance companies don’t want to deal with dozens of separate insurers.
Teladoc Health (TDOC)
Teladoc Health has around 50 million active members and has the most significant market share in the sector. They also have a smart corporate strategy focussing on a full range of services.
Shares have shot up from a 52 week low of $53.46 to a 52 week high of $203.85. The organization has almost tripled in value in the last year, with a YTD performance of over 64%.
Teladoc approximates that a third of all physician visits are treatable via telehealth, which at $45 per online visit is a staggering $17 billion annually. In terms of behavioral healthcare, Teladoc estimates that 80% of appointments can be handled online, equating to over $12 billion a year.
Their market share is enormous as Teladoc also operates in 11 other countries and provides services in over 175 countries.
Since March 11th, 2020, when COVID-19 reached pandemic status (according to the World Health Organization), Humana’s stock has increased by 12.5%, up from $328.22 to $369.09. YOY they have increased by 48%.
Humana expects to grow its Medicare Advantage membership this year by around 1.7% and therefore boost revenues.
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UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
United Health offers an online appointment with a doctor in 20 minutes, all covered by medical insurance. They are one of the largest healthcare service providers in the U.S. and in the last five years have seen stocks increase by 145%. Their customer base in 2015 was only a few million, and in 2019, they served a staggering 49.15 million people.
Anthem provides online appointments with healthcare professionals via their LiveHealth platform. Their easy to use website is especially useful for people with less technical experience.
Anthem’s stock has also held up well in the last few months, with full-year growth of 12.9% YOY to over $103 billion.
The Future of Telemedicine
Telemedicine stocks have held up well in this economic downturn and have remarkable overall growth. They look to continue to benefit for many months because of their online offering, and long after, the pandemic is much less of a threat to society.
Even with the doubt surrounding the coronavirus crisis, the telemedical sector remains bullish about their future and outlook for 2020.
As people get used to the convenience of online telemedical appointments, many will likely switch their future appointment arrangements because of ease, costs, and accessibility.
Have you had a telemedical appointment yet? What was your experience? What concerns would you have ‘seeing’ an online health professional? Please comment below.