This Stock is Poised to Capture the Future of Healthcare

There’s a big shift going on in the healthcare industry. I’m sure you’ve seen evidence of it yourself. But today, I want to make sure it’s on your radar as an investment. My pick in this area, Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC) stock, is starting to take off, and once you see why, you’ll want to be on board, too.

Healthcare companies are finally joining us here in the 21st century… by using technology to offer us better care, more efficiently.

There are all sorts of advancements being made, from DNA sequencing to “liquid biopsies” (which can detect disease biomarkers with one little prick).

But the one I find most exciting right now is telemedicine.

Rather than getting stuck in line, waiting to see a doctor, these days you can often just log on (or get on the phone) for a “virtual checkup.”

I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, so I’m never hesitant to go to urgent care if I’m concerned about something – but I hate sitting in a crowded room with people coughing on me.

I’m sure you do, too. Telemedicine is perfect for me, and I’ve loved it every time I’ve used it.

Aside from convenience, I believe telemedicine could have a big impact on things like mental health. When people are able to see a therapist or psychiatrist virtually, it makes it much easier for people to get treatment.

Those are just two anecdotal examples. But as the trend takes hold, more data becomes available. Last week, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) published the following research:

  • Of 5,000 respondents to an Advisory Board survey on telemedicine, three-quarters said they’d consider virtual care.
  • Telemedicine can be especially important in preventative care. Ninety percent of respondents said they’d cancel (or reschedule) a “wellness visit” if it conflicted with work.
  • One of the biggest opportunities is in rural areas without sufficient access to healthcare. There are 7,200 of these areas in the United States, in which about 85 million Americans are underserved.
  • And for health insurers, these programs could save $6 billion annually. For example, a $1,800 trip to the emergency room could cost less than $50 virtually!

So far, the results are encouraging: From 2014 to 2018, virtual care usage is up 624%!

As for United Healthcare itself, its experience with telemedicine reinforces my expectation that this trend is here to stay.

Demographics Are On Their Side
United Healthcare launched “Virtual Visits” in 2016. Of roughly 500,000 customers to date, “most are between the ages of 30 to 34 and are primarily women.”

And this generation – the millennials – is now the largest living adult generation, having just surpassed even the baby boomers.

This demographic shift is one I have a close eye on. In fact, I just devoted my September issue of Investment Opportunities to it.

Millennials are now reaching the point where they’re beginning to form families and buy houses. They may have waited longer than their forerunners, but they will have a huge impact as they dominate the economy for the next decade or more.

And if millennials prefer virtual checkups, then this really is the future of healthcare.

One Company Has the First-Mover Advantage
At the end of its report, United Healthcare announced that its new, nationwide provider of Virtual Visits is Teladoc.

But Teladoc has actually been around since 2002. And today, it’s the leading provider of telehealth medical visits in the United States. The company boasts being able to connect you with a licensed doctor in under 10 minutes… whether it’s via the phone, internet, or mobile app.

Shares got hit on news that Teladoc’s contract ran out with the U.S. Defense Health Agency. I wasn’t too worried, though, as I explained in Investment Opportunities – where we’ve owned TDOC stock for a year and a half.

Teladoc is already the leader in the telehealth industry, with well over 50% of the market share in the United States. If it can keep growing at this pace, the number of visits could grow by 10-fold in the coming years – and revenue gains should keep pace.

Already in the most recent quarter, revenue gained 38% quarter-over-quarter to $130.3 million. Visit volumes soared 70% to 908,000, while U.S. paid memberships grew by 100,000 to 26.8 million.

Sure enough, the stock has begun to surge again after the United Healthcare deal was announced. After all, the Military Health System was a 9.4 million-person market – but United Healthcare is a 49.5 million-person market!

TDOC stock has popped more than 50% from its lows late last year. It is still under my recommended buy price in Investment Opportunities… but I don’t expect it to stay that way for long. Once more investors catch on to the virtual-medicine mega-trend – and identify Teladoc as the industry leader – TDOC stock will realize plenty more upside.

— Matt McCall

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Source: Investor Place