UnitedHealth Group

Company: UnitedHealth Group (formerly known as United Healthcare Corporation)

Founder: Richard T. Burke

Industry: Healthcare Plans


Richard T. Burke founded United Healthcare Corporation in 1977. During the same year, the company acquired Charter Med Incorporated, a company formed by several physicians and healthcare professionals in 1974 to provide a wider range of healthcare options to the average consumer. By 1979, United Healthcare launched the first network-based health plans for its senior clientele and pioneered in selling health plans to the private market for Medicare.

United Healthcare went public in 1984 and has grown in terms of investments and returns. The company also managed to acquire other companies through mergers and takeouts. Over the years though, United Healthcare was also pressed to sell some of its acquired assets to stay afloat. The Diversified Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., a pharmacy benefits administration company acquired in 1988, was sold to SmithKline Beecham Corporation in 1994 for $2.3 billion.

The following year, United Healthcare took The MetraHealth Companies for $1.65 billion. Under the terms of the acquisition, all companies that were held by MetraHealth will be incorporated to United Healthcare. Companies that were included in the merger were Travelers Insurance Company and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

With the advances in information and medical technologies, UnitedHealth Group also introduced new innovations employing these technological innovations. Some notable achievements are as follows:

  • Parallax, iCES, and Galaxy clinical database – improves the management quality of healthcare delivery and financial and medical insights
  • Electronic Medical ID cards in partnership with Mastercard – allows hospitals and other medical institutions to quickly verify holder’s medical records, as well as eligibility for medical benefits.
  • IPlan HSA – a health plan integrated with the client’s deductible health savings account.

UnitedHealth Group managed to win the Business Insurance Reader’s Choice Award for Best Managed Care Company for in 2007.


UnitedHealth Care’s Board of Directors

  • William C. Ballard, Jr – CFO of Humana, 1970-92
  • Richard T. Burke – Founder of UnitedHealth Group
  • Stephen J. Hemsley – CEO of UnitedHealth Group
  • Thomas H. Kean – Governor of New Jersey, 1982-90
  • Douglas W. Leatherdale – CEO of St. Paul Companies, 1990-2001
  • Mary O. Mundinger – Dean, Columbia School of Nursing
  • Robert L. Ryan – CFO of Medtronic, 1993-2005


Even though the UnitedHealth Group was named as the Reader’s Choice for Best Managed Care Company, the company received a 91% worst rating in a survey among health care professionals who had dealings with UnitedHealth Group in the past.

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