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Why UnitedHealth could be the first trillion-dollar insurer

Health insurance company UnitedHealth Group (UNH) reveals that the company has ties to 10% of US physicians, 90,000 nationwide. The country's largest health insurer could, potentially, to be the first to become a trillion-dollar healthcare company, according to experts.

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani reports on this story and takes a closer look at what this sort of tie could mean for the insurance company—and how competitors measure up.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: UnitedHealthcare made headlines after saying the company has ties to 10% of all physicians in the US. the country's largest health insurer disclosing that number at its Investor Day this week. For more on this, let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani. Anjalee, what are the implications of this?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, as you would imagine, having a tie-in with one of the largest insurers in the country just means that this is really adding to UnitedHealth's strength. The company has boasted in the past that it reached 70,000 the year before. And so now adding to-- getting to the 90,000 mark is just another milestone for it.

This now compromises 10% of all active physicians in the United States, which is about 950,000 according to the American Medical Association. What this really is interesting for is it kind of tells the story of where UnitedHealth is headed as a vertically integrated company focusing on health care services and sort of keeping everything under the umbrella of UnitedHealth.

That's been something that's been a concern for many over the years and really is part of this trajectory that this company could be one of the largest, not that it isn't already but could be one of the largest in the country.

I've had some experts tell me, United may well be the first trillion-dollar health care company. And it certainly seems with the works that they have-- with the things that they have in the works, it could certainly meet that.

AKIKO FUJITA: Where does that leave some of the other big health insurers then?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, we already know that CVS is also ramping up its provider services. It recently acquired Signify as well as Oak Street. And so you see that effort there. Meanwhile, they also have the minuteclinics. So these two are really the main competitors in the space.

We also know about the rumored Cigna-Humana deal. Humana does have its own primary care with-- really focusing on senior care. So that's where a majority of the focus has been. So United does have sort of a head start, if you will, in this space.

We've also seen other health care giants like Walgreens signal that they're interested in getting into the provider space as well as, of course, the Amazon One Medical tie-up. So a lot of this is really shifting what we think of as how provider services are provided here in the country.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, fascinating to be tracking that shift. Yahoo Finance Reporter Anjalee Khemlani, thanks so much for that.