Teladoc bumps revenue, visit expectations for 2021

Dive Brief:

  • Teladoc expects to bring in $2.03 billion in revenue in 2021, according to a preliminary filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, substantially above the high point of the telehealth giant’s previous guidance and almost doubling 2020’s topline.
  • The vendor conducted an estimated 14.7 million visits in the 2021 fiscal year, CEO Jason Gorevic said Monday at J.P. Morgan’s annual investor conference. That’s again above the high end of its guidance, and up from 10.6 million visits in 2020.
  • Despite the company’s performance, investors have been leery amid worries that demand for virtual care will drop off as COVID-19 cases do. Teladoc’s stock, which has been on a steady downward trajectory this year, ticked up slightly over Monday’s trade following Teladoc’s JPM presentation.

Dive Insight:

Teladoc is the largest end-to-end virtual care player in the U.S. market today. Like its peers, the company has benefited strongly from the pandemic bringing more awareness to and accelerating the use of virtual care services over the past two years, though some market watchers have aired concerns about a COVID-19 telehealth bubble, tamping the growth of publicly traded vendors’ shares.

In a bright spot for Teladoc, its updated revenue and visit expectations are up from the company’s previous guidance ranges for 2021, implying a healthier-than-expected fourth quarter. Previously, Teladoc said it expected to bring in between $2.015 billion and $2.025 billion in revenue, and conduct between 14.5 million and 14.7 million visits.

Larger telehealth companies have been racing to build out their services to vie in an increasingly competitive market, as customers look to pivot away from point solutions for their virtual care needs. Teladoc is no different, with a key facet of its growth strategy being providing whole-person care, from mental to physical healthcare and episodic to chronic and complex needs.

As a result of this dynamic, Teladoc has begun exploring value-based arrangements with its clients as a way to form more long-term relationships while capturing a greater slice of any savings. The New York-based vendor is moving to value-based care along a number of dimensions, including chronic care management for specific populations and primary care.

“We see a lot of interests from clients, especially on the health plan side, in leaning into more value based arrangements,” Gorevic said. The CEO noted Teladoc eventually plans to take full risk for some patient populations, and is starting to pilot that with some clients.

Teladoc also continues to lean more heavily on multiproduct sales to drive revenue. In 2020, half of its new bookings were multiproduct. That grew to three-quarters of all sales in 2021.

But despite its consistent revenue growth, 20-year-old Teladoc has not yet turned a profit and is currently facing a skeptical market.

From January 2020 to its peak in February 2021, Teladoc’s stock rose 252%. However, all those gains were wiped out by the beginning of 2022.

Rebecca Pifer/Healthcare Dive, NYSE data

 

“The stock could remain a show me story in the near term as investors remain cautious on growth stocks as well as pandemic beneficiaries,” SVB Leerink analyst Stephanie Davis wrote in a note on Teladoc’s announcement.

Another potential headwind for the vendor is the growing number of companies elbowing into the virtual care delivery space, including deep-pocketed tech behemoths like Amazon and health insurers like UnitedHealth and Cigna. The latter in April completed its acquisition of vendor MDLive.

However, Gorevic said at JPM that the snap-up actually caused a bump in Teladoc’s bookings.

“Buying MDLIVE, that was actually very positive for us, because it opened up a lot of the MDLIVE client base of payers who were looking for a more neutral solution, because they didn’t want to be using Cigna as their virtual care provider,” Gorevic said. “And so we’ve actually seen growth and takeaway opportunities result from that move.”

The CEO noted Teladoc will continue pursuing its own M&A to rapidly expand in new clinical areas. Currently, the vendor is looking to expand its cardiometabolic services, for example, Gorevic said.

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