Careers at UnitedHealth Group


UnitedHealth Group’s mission is to help people live healthier lives and to help make the health system work better for everyone.

Business segments

UnitedHealth Group is a managed healthcare company.  The firm operates four reportable business segments:

  • UnitedHealthcare – Provides health benefits, care management, and care delivery for multinational employers, governments, and individuals around the world. Consists of UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, UnitedHealthcare Community & State, and UnitedHealthcare Global.
  • OptumHealth – Provides population health management through programs offered by employers, payers, government entities, and directly with the care delivery system.
  • OptumInsight – Provides services, technology, and health care expertise to major participants in the health care industry.
  • OptumRx – Provides a spectrum of pharmacy care services through its network of retail pharmacies and home delivery facilities.


In 1970 Dr. Paul Ellwood founded a health care think tank in Minnesota, called Interstudy. The organization’s purpose was to research and promote the healthcare maintenance organization (HMO) model as an ideal model for organized health care. Ellwood’s efforts enabled him to succeed in obtaining approval from the U.S. Congress for the system.

In 1971 he recruited Richard Burke to put the model into practice. In 1974 Burke established Charter Med Incorporated, a private company. In 1977 he established the for-profit UnitedHealthCare Corporation to serve as the parent company of Charter Med. It would also manage a newly-created HMO called Physicians Health Plan of Minnesota (PHP), which was required by law to be a non-profit.

Over the next few years United HealthCare grew significantly through the broadening of its management services and acquisitions. By 1984 it was overseeing 11 HMOs in 10 states. Later that year it went public, and not long afterwards it began a national expansion program through which it founded several new HMOs and acquired multi-state HMO firms.

In 1988 the company completed a restructuring program through which it sold several weak businesses. It then began purchasing specialty firms that could control high medical costs, including those managing programs for prescription drugs, organ transplants, and mental health treatments. In 1990 it became the first managed healthcare firm to target clients at other HMOs.

Specifically, it offered three types of services separately to manage their extra costs: United Resource Network, which managed the delivery of high cost, low volume procedures; Healthmarc, which offered utilization review and case management services for workers' compensation claims; and Employee Performance Design, programs offering financial, legal, and personal advice to workers.

The strategy was a major success. By the end of the year United had 1.5 million health plan members, more than at any other independent HMO, and generated revenues of $605.5 million. In 1998 it was renamed UnitedHealth Group. In the next two decades it continued its dominance by acquiring more competitors, including MetraHealth Companies and HealthWise of America.

Benefits at UnitedHealth Group

Business model of UnitedHealth Group

Customer Segments

UnitedHealth has a segmented market business model, with customer segments that have slightly different needs. The company targets its offerings at employers, governments, and individuals.

Value Proposition

UnitedHealth offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, innovation, and brand/status.

The company creates accessibility by making its services widely available. It provides its offerings to individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

The company embraces innovation as a part of its culture. It invests almost $2.9 billion annually on innovation and technology. It has also been cited by Fortune as the most innovative managed healthcare firm.

The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It ranks in the top 10 of the Fortune 500. It contracts with over one million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. It provides its services to more than 70 million individuals in all 50 U.S. states and in over 125 other countries. It has high customer satisfaction levels. In 2011, J.D. Power & Associates gave it the highest employer satisfaction rating for self-insured health plans; and in 2010, it was named the “Readers Choice" winner in 2010 for "Best Health Plan Provider" in Business Insurance Magazine. Lastly, it has won many honors, including the following:

  • Recognition as one of the “World's Most Admired Companies"in the insurance and managed care sector by Fortune six years in a row
  • Frost & Sullivan's 2016 North America Company of the Year Award for the population health management market
  • Ranking #1 on the Healthcare Informatics (HCI) 100, a list of the top health care IT companies based on U.S. revenues
  • The award for Best Outsourcing Provider from the International Customer Management Institute
  • Ranking as #1 in the health care industry section of The Civic 50 three years in a row


UnitedHealth’s main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, direct marketing, and attendance of conferences.

Customer Relationships

UnitedHealth’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize its services while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website provides answers to frequently asked questions. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.

Key Activities

UnitedHealth’s business model entails designing, developing, and delivering its services to customers.

Key Partners

UnitedHealth’s key partners are the suppliers that provide it with the materials and services it needs to run its operations. It also collaborates with a diverse range of companies, non-profits, and other partners to develop solutions for a simpler and more cost-effective health care system.

Key Resources

UnitedHealth’s main resources are its human resources, who include over 18,500 nurses and physicians that provide healthcare services and the customer service employees that provide support.

Cost Structure

UnitedHealth has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is medical costs. Other major drivers are in the areas of operating costs, a fixed expense, and cost of products sold, a variable expense.

Revenue Streams

UnitedHealth has four revenue streams: revenues it generates from premiums, from the sale of products, from the sale of services, and from investment and other income.

Our team

Stephen J. Hemsley,
Chief Executive Officer

info: Stephen J. Hemsley earned a Bachelor’s degree at Fordham University. He previously held a number of senior leadership roles at UnitedHealth Group, including President, Chief Operating Officer, and Senior Executive Vice President.

David S. Wichmann,

info: David S. Wichmann earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Illinois State University. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer, President and CEO of Specialized Care Services, and Senior Vice President, Corporate Development at UnitedHealth Group.

Larry C. Renfro,
Vice Chairman and CEO of Optum

info: Larry C. Renfro previously held a number of leadership roles at UnitedHealth Group, including CEO of the Public and Senior Markets Group. He also served as a senior executive officer at Fidelity Investments and as President and CEO of AARP Services.

John Rex,
EVP and Chief Financial Officer

info: John Rex earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics at Brigham Young University and an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania. He previously served as EVP, Chief Financial Officer of Optum and as a Managing Director of JP Morgan Chase.