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Centene Ties Up to Expand Telehealth Services in Rural Areas

Centene Corporation CNC recently collaborated with Samsung Electronics America to extend telehealth offerings to patients living in rural and underserved areas.

The tie-up entails distribution of 13,000 Galaxy A10e smartphones to around 200 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), other providers and community support organizations located across several markets served by Centene. They will further distribute these devices based on the patients’ urgency of requiring the same.

It is to be noted that the abovementioned distribution will be done with a special focus on rural and underserved communities.

The same devices will also be backed by free wireless service, which can be availed for a tenure of 90 days.

Notably, the providers and organizations will be not only provided with smartphones but some of them will also get Samsung Galaxy tablets for conducting telehealth visits.

Moreover, Centene is well-poised to benefit from the increased telehealth visits, which are likely to reach up to 1 billion by 2020 end. It is worth mentioning that if there is an industry that might have gained from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the telehealth industry. With observance of stringent social-distancing measures on account of coronavirus, patients have been left with telehealth services as the only feasible option to seek medical within the comfort of their homes. This, in turn, drove the telehealth market.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) healthcare provider have gained 26.2% in a year compared with the industry’s growth of 16.6%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The pandemic, which has had a telling impact on health globally, hasn’t spared rural and underserved communities. In fact, increased access to healthcare services is of utmost priority in the current scenario. However, 44.4% of respondents participating in a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the mid of July reported of not receiving or getting delayed access to healthcare services. The operational challenges induced by the pandemic along with other reasons have been the primary reason behind such delays.

Nevertheless, Centene aims to expand the much-required telehealth services across several markets amid this crisis scenario. The tie-up with Samsung isn’t the first collaboration undertaken by Centene for boosting telehealth offerings. In April of this year, it has also inked a Medicaid Telehealth Partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) with the same intentions of helping out FQHCs in expanding telehealth solutions.

Among other stocks in the medical space, Teladoc Health Inc. TDOC is a niche player in the telehealth service industry with wide offerings and international reach. Other companies, namely Magellan Health, Inc. MGLN and Humana Inc. HUM have also developed telehealth services.

Furthermore, Centene has been the leading provider of health insurance Marketplace plans in the United States. It has unveiled plans last week to expand the reach of branded Ambetter, which is its Marketplace product. The product is not only likely to be available in around 400 new counties across 13 existing states but also in two new states — New Mexico and Michigan.

Lastly, the healthcare provider has been undertaking several efforts to bolster the company’s product offerings, expand its addressable markets and boost its Medicaid membership, which in turn, will drive revenues for the past few years.

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