UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Porter Five Forces Analysis

Strategic Management Essays, Term Papers & Presentations

Porter Five Forces Analysis is a strategic management tool to analyze industry and understand underlying levers of profitability in a given industry. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated managers can use Porter Five Forces to understand how the five competitive forces influence profitability and develop a strategy for enhancing UnitedHealth Group Incorporated competitive advantage and long term profitability in Health Care Plans industry.

Brief overview of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is one of the leading firms in the Health Care Plans. Over the years UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has redefined the ways of doing business in Healthcare. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is listed at New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and have a market cap 173.83B USD.


What are Porter Five (5) Forces

In his revolutionary article - "Five Forces that Shape Strategy", Michael Porter observed five forces that have significant impact on a firm's profitability in its industry. These five forces analysis today in business world is also known as -Porter Five Forces Analysis. The Porter Five (5) Forces are -

  • Threat of New Entrants
  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers
  • Bargaining Power of Buyers
  • Threat from Substitute Products
  • Rivalry among the existing players.
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated hbr case study solutions & analysis

Porter Five Forces is a holistic strategy framework that took strategic decision away from just analyzing the present competition. Porter Five Forces focuses on - how UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can build a sustainable competitive advantage in Health Care Plans industry. Managers at UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can not only use Porter Five Forces to develop a strategic position with in Health Care Plans industry but also can explore profitable opportunities in whole Healthcare sector.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Porter Five (5) Forces Analysis for Healthcare Industry

Threats of New Entrants

New entrants in Health Care Plans brings innovation, new ways of doing things and put pressure on UnitedHealth Group Incorporated through lower pricing strategy, reducing  costs, and providing new value propositions to the customers. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated has to manage all these challenges and build effective barriers to safeguard its competitive edge.

How UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can tackle the Threats of New Entrants

  • By innovating new products and services. New products not only brings new customers to the fold but also give old customer a reason to buy UnitedHealth Group Incorporated ‘s products.
  • By building economies of scale so that it can lower the fixed cost per unit. 
  • Building capacities and spending money on research and development. New entrants are less likely to enter a dynamic industry where the established players such as UnitedHealth Group Incorporated keep defining the standards regularly. It significantly reduces the window of extraordinary profits for the new firms thus discourage new players in the industry.

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

All most all the companies in the Health Care Plans industry buy their raw material from numerous suppliers. Suppliers in dominant position can decrease the margins UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can earn in the market. Powerful suppliers in Healthcare sector use their negotiating power to extract higher prices from the firms in Health Care Plans field. The overall impact of higher supplier bargaining power is that it lowers the overall profitability of Health Care Plans.

How UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can tackle Bargaining Power of the Suppliers

  • By building efficient supply chain with multiple suppliers.
  • By experimenting with product designs using different materials so that if the prices go up of one raw material then company can shift to another.
  • Developing dedicated suppliers whose business depends upon the firm. One of the lessons UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can learn from Wal-Mart and Nike is how these companies developed third party manufacturers whose business solely depends on them thus creating a scenario where these third party manufacturers have significantly less bargaining power compare to Wal-Mart and Nike.

Bargaining Power of Buyers

Buyers are often a demanding lot. They want to buy the best offerings available by paying the minimum price as possible. This put pressure on UnitedHealth Group Incorporated profitability in the long run. The smaller and more powerful the customer base is of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated the higher the bargaining power of the customers and higher their ability to seek increasing discounts and offers.

How UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can tackle the Bargaining Power of Buyers

  • By building a large base of customers. This will be helpful in two ways. It will reduce the bargaining power of the buyers plus it will provide an opportunity to the firm to streamline its sales and production process.
  • By rapidly innovating new products. Customers often seek discounts and offerings on established products so if UnitedHealth Group Incorporated keep on coming up with new products then it can limit the bargaining power of buyers.
  • New products will also reduce the defection of existing customers of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated to its competitors.

Threats of Substitute Products or Services

When a new product or service meets a similar customer needs in different ways, industry profitability suffers. For example services like Dropbox and Google Drive are substitute to storage hardware drives. The threat of a substitute product or service is high if it offers a value proposition that is uniquely different from present offerings of the industry.

How UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can tackle the Treat of Substitute Products / Services

  • By being service oriented rather than just product oriented.
  • By understanding the core need of the customer rather than what the customer is buying.
  • By increasing the switching cost for the customers.

Rivalry among the Existing Competitors

If the rivalry among the existing players in an industry is intense then it will drive down prices and decrease the overall profitability of the industry. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates in a very competitive Health Care Plans industry. This competition does take toll on the overall long term profitability of the organization.

How UnitedHealth Group Incorporated can tackle Intense Rivalry among the Existing Competitors in Health Care Plans industry

  • By building a sustainable differentiation
  • By building scale so that it can compete better
  • Collaborating with competitors to increase the market size rather than just competing for small market.

Implications of Porter Five Forces on UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

By analyzing all the five competitive forces UnitedHealth Group Incorporated strategists can gain a complete picture of what impacts the profitability of the organization in Health Care Plans industry. They can identify game changing trends early on and can swiftly respond to exploit the emerging opportunity. By understanding the Porter Five Forces in great detail UnitedHealth Group Incorporated 's managers can shape those forces in their favor.

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