This excerpt taken from the UNH 10-Q filed May 7, 2009.
Our businesses participate in the U.S. health economy, which comprises approximately 16% of gross domestic product and which has grown consistently for many years. Management expects overall spending on health care in the U.S. to continue to rise in the future, based on inflation, demographic trends in the U.S. population and national interest in health and well-being. The rate of market growth may be impacted by a variety of factors, including macro-economic conditions and proposed health care reforms, which could also impact our results of operations.
Adverse Economic Conditions. The current U.S. recessionary economic environment has impacted demand for certain of our products and services. For example, decreases in employment have reduced the number of workers and dependants offered health care benefits by our employer customers and will pressure top line growth for our UnitedHealthcare business. This workplace attrition contributed nearly one-third of the 3% decrease in UnitedHealthcares commercial membership in the first quarter of 2009, and this trend is expected to continue at a generally elevated level until employment stabilizes. In contrast, our AmeriChoice business has seen increased participation in its state Medicaid offerings as employment rates fall. If the recessionary economic environment continues for a prolonged period, federal and state governments may decrease funding for various health care government programs in which we participate and/or impose new or higher levels of taxes or assessments. Our revenues are also impacted by U.S. monetary and fiscal policy. Currently, the U.S. Federal Reserve has decreased the target federal funds rate to a range of zero to 25 basis points. Our $22.1 billion portfolio of cash and investments is generally composed of high quality securities and cash, and has a relatively short aggregate duration. With $7.9 billion in cash and cash equivalents, our liquidity position and financial flexibility are strong. Changes in federal monetary policy have reduced the level of investment income received from this portfolio on a year-over-year basis.
In total, management believes that economic recessions will slow our revenue growth rate and could impact our operating profitability. Management also believes that government funding pressure, coupled with recessionary economic conditions, will impact the financial positions of hospitals, physicians and other care providers and could therefore increase medical cost trends experienced by our businesses. For additional discussions regarding how a prolonged economic downturn could affect our business, see Item 1A. Risk Factors in Part I of our 2008 10-K, as amended, for the year ended December 31, 2008 as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (2008 10-K).
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Our businesses may benefit from elements of the federal economic stimulus package that was enacted in response to the current recession. These elements include expansion of funding to state programs, which could mitigate funding pressure for AmeriChoice Medicaid offerings at the state level, and funding for health care information technology, which could expand market opportunities for Ingenix.
Proposed Health Care Reforms and Reimbursement Changes. There is regular dialogue about health care reforms at both state and national levels, due to the size of and national interest in the health economy. Examples of these health care reform proposals include policy changes that would change the dynamics of the health care industry, such as having the federal or one or more state governments assume a larger role in the health care system or a fundamental restructuring of the Medicare or Medicaid programs. Any health care reforms enacted may be phased in over a number of years.
The new administration and various congressional leaders have signaled their interest in reducing payments to private plans offering Medicare Advantage over the intermediate term. Further, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a reduction in our Medicare Advantage reimbursements for 2010. Depending on the extent and phasing of these potential rate reductions, management believes that the number of seniors participating in Medicare Advantage and the industry-wide revenues and earnings derived from these plans may fall. Management believes that there are a number of annual adjustments we can make to our operations which may partially offset any impact from these rate reductions. For example, we can adjust members benefits, decide on a county-by-county basis which geographies to participate in and seek to intensify our medical and operating cost management. If industry-wide Medicare Advantage membership declines, there is likely to be increased demand for Medicare Supplemental insurance and Part D prescription drug coverage, and in both categories Ovations is also a market leader.
We operate a diversified set of health care focused businesses; this business model has been intentionally designed to address a multitude of market sectors. Therefore, we could see simultaneous increases and decreases in demand for our various products and services, depending on the scope, shape and timing of health care reforms. It is difficult to predict the outcome of reform discussions with precision over the mid- to long-term time horizon. For additional discussions regarding our risks related to health care reforms and Medicare Advantage reimbursement changes, see Item 1A. Risk Factors in Part I of our 2008 10-K.
This excerpt taken from the UNH 10-K filed Feb 11, 2009.
Our businesses participate in the U.S. health economy, which comprises approximately 16% of gross domestic product and which has grown consistently for many years. Management expects overall spending on health care in the U.S. to continue to rise in the future, based on inflation, demographic trends in the U.S. population and national interest in health and well-being. The rate of growth may be impacted by a variety of factors, including macro-economic conditions and proposed health care reforms, which could also impact our results of operations.