Supply Chain Management

UnitedHealth Group partners with suppliers who are integral to helping us achieve our mission. Our supply chain consists of two distinct supplier bases: direct and indirect suppliers. UnitedHealth Group purchases pharmaceuticals and health care products through our direct suppliers and other goods and services through our indirect suppliers.

Our procurement departments collaborate with our business segments to identify, engage and manage our supplier base to meet business objectives, enable growth and mitigate risk for UnitedHealth Group and the individuals we serve. We maximize value in our supply chain by creating competitive markets for our internal business needs to ensure we buy the right goods and services, from the right suppliers, for the right price, in a timely manner.

UnitedHealth Group executes an enterprisewide Supplier Risk Management Program that is centrally managed by our Enterprise Sourcing & Procurement (ES&P) team. This program provides the structure and framework for supplier risk management and includes a set of common standards, including regulatory and compliance requirements, applicable to suppliers that participate in the health care value chain.

Because UnitedHealth Group is entrusted with the protecton of individuals' most sensitive and personal health data, we place the utmost importance on protecting our data and information systems. We require suppliers with access to our information systems, customer data or health plan member data to have the appropriate security controls in place prior to doing business with us, including maintaining their HITRUST certification or an acceptable third-party validated assessment.

We ensure our suppliers meet our performance expectations through a systematic Supplier Performance Management Program that monitors our most critical suppliers’ performance on a monthly basis on contractual Service Level Agreements related to service delivery, quality and value delivery.

Data-driven supplier performance scorecards are shared quarterly with executive leadership to identify performance trends and areas of opportunity in order to develop improvement plans for underperforming suppliers. Suppliers are evaluated on criteria such as financial stability, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance, organization resiliency, diversity participation and NPS.

We are adding value and reducing costs in the health care supply chain. Pharmacy is the most frequent touch point in health care. OptumRx works directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers to secure discounts that lower the overall cost of medications and create tailored formularies – or drug lists – to ensure people get the right medications. We then negotiate with pharmacies to lower costs at the point of sale.

We also operate prescription home delivery, which has led to 20% better medication adherence, provide multidose packaging and function as a specialty pharmacy and infusion provider. We work directly with drug wholesalers and distributors to ensure consistency of the brand and generic drug supply, and a reliance on that drug supply. 

We engage our suppliers and business partners to reduce the environmental impact of our supply chain and ensure efficient distribution and logistics. We formally review the sustainability practices of our most critical suppliers to identify supplier policies and goals for waste and carbon reduction, recycling and other sustainability measurements.