UnitedHealth experienced increased utilization in the second half of 2011, especially outpatient and physician office settings. The insurer expects that trend to continue through 2012.
Company officials say employers are focused on value-based benefit design for employees and UnitedHealth has seen growing interest in its narrow-network value-based offerings. Its consumer-based health plans have done well in that marketplace, with about 15% of its membership in value-based products
The company has several pilots in place around bundled payments in its commercial and Medicare business. The focus is on aligning the bundles with the right clinical programs and the right incentives. The company declined to talk specifics, but says that it is seeing some interesting results around oncology bundles.
UnitedHealth expects unit costs on the hospital side to be stable in terms of year-over-year percentage increases. The dual-eligibles market is seen as a major opportunity.