In the recent bull market health insurers are experiencing one of their biggest booms in years. Partly due to Obamacare and partly due to an ever-growing population, large health insurance firms are suffering the most significant profit margins in years. The stock collective for healthcare, the SN&P Managed Care sector, has risen a collective 1,100 percent since the market took a bullish turn around two years ago. In the same period, the SNP Biotech index was up nearly 500 percent.
This comes in stark contrast to the feelings investors held for healthcare stocks in 2009 when a combination of Obamacare and the depression made them a risky investment. That’s changed with the ‘greying of America.’ Medicare’s most popular plan, the WellCare Health Plan, has seen tripled revenue– up to 18.7 billion from last year. The stock price mirrors this concept– it is up 46 percent this year and costs an average of two hundred and ninety-six dollars per share. Some of this increase comes from the aging workers receiving their pensions from the US government. Government workers account for around 50 percent of all of the current Medicare shares.
Graying Plans: The Push for Medicare
The increased average age of the population also plays a significant role in the growth of the UnitedHealth Group, who has seen doubled enrollment in both their Medicare and Medicaid programs. Over the past nine years, their enrollment in all programs offered by the company has nearly doubled. In conjunction with this increase in enrollment, their worth has tripled $87 million to 225 million dollars since 2009.
Tech-Savvy Corporations Get Health Savvy
Other companies are making a foray into the growing market– tech giants like Google and Amazon are making their advances into the healthcare market. Last week, Google’s parent company Alphabet reportedly purchased nearly $375 million in Oscar Health stock to assist the company in developing a comprehensive approach to Obamacare and Medicaid. Earlier this year, tech giant Amazon reportedly purchased startup Pillpack to promote a more efficient online pharmacy business, as well as create better employee health plans.
Future Healthcare Market Problems
The only thing standing in the way of a healthy, indefinitely bullish health market is a political standoff over the issue of Obamacare. On one side of the aisle, Republicans want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, or ACA– and on the other? The Democrats want to reform the ACA in favor of a public, single-payer method. However, a health-care credit analyst at Standard & Poor, Deep Banjeree, estimates that there will never be a health care system utterly devoid of private competitors.
These sudden rushes to the healthcare industry are indicative of a few trends– a healthy stock market, the ‘greying’ of America, and a renewed interest in social issues. Have any questions about health insurance or health and fitness in general? Let us know by leaving a comment below!