Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Social Media Statistics Part 1

As we find ourselves in the digital high tech era with a new definition to what society has become it is valuable to see the statistics around it all. This new form of communication is here to stay, social media is a way of life that has changed the world. Some predict the new wave will see social networks that differentiate and cater to specific needs breaking up the big players such as Facebook and Twitter.  While we wait and see let us step back and analyze the statistics and behavior of the current social media.

Statistics from 2009 - 2010 by Sysomos reveals that Twitter users with more than 100 friends have increased three-fold since 2009. About 22% of users accounted for about 90% of all Twitter activity and 80% of users have made less than 500 tweets. According to the data as time has passed a good amount of users feel more comfortable disclosing their location, web info and bio on their profiles, this number more than doubled to 63% by Twitter users in 2010. The most popular day of the week for Twitter use is Tuesday and daily activity is at its highest between 11am - 3pm.
The Twitter community has grown steadily and significantly, in August 2010, 44% of the total social network population were new users. More than three fourths of all users have made fewer than 500 tweets, 2.7% have made more than 5000 and only 0.18% have made more than 25,000 tweets respectively. When it comes to number of followers the majority about 95% have less than 500 followers, 2.12% have more than 1000 followers and only 0.06% of Twitter users have more than 20,000 followers. Any Twitter user can be found withing five degrees of separation or less.
Sysomos conducted their research by viewing more than a billion tweets coming from more than 20 million Twitter users in 2010 compared to analyzing 11.5 million accounts in 2009.

Monday, December 19, 2011

UnitedHealth Group, Inc. Overview

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) is a healthcare service provider in the United States.  Founded in 1974 the company offers health benefit plans to public sector employers, mid-sized employers, national employers, and individuals.  Optum UNH's Health Services platform, has three informational and technological based services businesses.  OptumHealth concentrates on financial services and health management. OptumRx is among the biggest pharmacy benefit management organizations and OptumInsight concentrates in technology consulting & actuarial services as well as software products.

In 2010 UNH's revenue grew by 8% reaching $94 billion compared to $87 billion in 2009.  The company's revenue has steadily increased since 2006.  The company's broad health services will allow it to advance its international growth.  The company is well positioned for growth in the coming years, as the need for benefit coverage increases as well as government monitoring and new legislation. 

UnitedHealth Group is collaborating with Cisco (CSCO) with the introduction of a high-resolution teleconferencing technology to give us the first telehealth network which enables doctors to see patients face-to-face when patients are not able to access a doctor or clinic.  NowClinic allows individuals with internet access to chat with doctors and with the use of a web cam you can get the feel as if you were in a doctor's office, DocGPS is one of the first smart phone applications that gives people the ability to locate nearby UnitedHealthcare providers.

As we enter a paperless society UNH OptumInsight working collaboratively with the AMA is aiding in the smooth transition of transforming paper records into electronic health records for those small physician practices.  Small physician practices is where most of the population receives primary care. 

The company has more than 20 distinct businesses and serves more than 6,000 hospital facilities as well as more then 75 million individuals.  UnitedHealthcare Medicare provides benefits to 9 million seniors together with AARP which is vital in an environment that consists of a large amount of baby boomers.  UnitedHealthcare Community and State caters to more than 3 million individuals of which more than half are children, these individuals get coverage via Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare.

When the market bottomed out in March 2009 UNH was priced at $17.90 from which it has recovered quite nicely it is currently priced at $48.97.  UnitedHealth Group is currently paying a 1.30% dividend.
The 52 week average has ranged from $35.05 - $53.50 with a beta of 0.78 yet the stock was not immune to the August drop.  UNH dropped close to 10 points from July to August. 

Providing medical care to the U.S. makes up about 17% of our GDP and costs more than $2.4 trillion, the inflation rate for healthcare was about 9% in 2010.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts that the U.S. total health expenditure will grow to more than $4.1 trillion by 2016 and $4.6 trillion by 2019.  Moving forward UnitedHealthcare Group appears well positioned for the changing technological and legislative healthcare market. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Medicaid 2011

Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) provide health coverage to nearly 60 million Americans.  Medicaid was created in 1965 and provides individuals that qualify with health protection.  It provides long term care for people with disabilities and for older people as well.  Medicaid gives health insurance to low-income families with children and it also gives supplemental coverage for low-income Medicare beneficiaries for those services that Medicare does not cover such as deductibles, premiums and outpatient prescription drugs.

Each state sets its own eligibility standards, benefits package and payment rates, Medicaid is a federal and state program.  According to the NYC department for the aging Medicaid eligibility for those age 65 and older, blind or disabled is as follows: a single individual must have a maximum monthly income of $767 per month and assets of $13,800.  A married couple can have a maximum monthly income of $1,117 per month and assets of $20,100.  Assets can include cash, stocks and bank accounts some assets do not count such as a primary home and your car. To be eligible you have to be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien.

Although Medicaid provides health coverage to the needy studies have found that children with Medicaid have to wait longer for care compared to children with private insurance.  This has shown true even for serious medical problems and according to researchers the lower payments and delays in payment are the main reason why.  The New England Journal of Medicine published the article "Auditing Access to Specialty Care for Children with Public Insurance" which details a study conducted in Cook County, Illinois.  The state of Illinois uses CHIP and Medicaid as a combined program.  The study revealed that out of 546 calls placed to clinics 66% of callers reporting Medicaid-CHIP coverage were denied an appointment for specialty care compared to callers reporting Blue Cross Blue Shield of which 11% were denied an appointment.

States may pay health care providers on a fee-for-service basis or may pay for Medicaid through different prepayment arrangements, such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs).  The providers participating in Medicaid must accept Medicaid payment rates as payment in full.  Most states have "state-only" programs to provide medical assistance to the financially challenged people who do not qualify for Medicaid. 

In 2008 Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP financed $823 billion in health care services according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  National health expenditures in 2019 are expected to grow to $4.6 trillion.