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The Top 2 Telehealth Stocks to Buy in October

By Zhiyuan Sun – Oct 11, 2020 at 7:10AM

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Access to healthcare in America has changed, and these two companies could help you benefit.

Within the span of a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically reshaped healthcare access in America. More than 76% of Americans are now considering virtual care as an option, compared with just 11% pre-COVID-19.

Hence, it should be no surprise that telemedicine stocks are among some of the most popular names in the healthcare sector right now. The opportunity for these businesses to disrupt traditional primary care is massive, and while scalability is part of it, there's far more, too. Here are two of the hottest telehealth stocks for investors to watch right now. 

Someone talking to doctor on laptop

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Amwell

In a recent survey, Amwell (AMWL 1.59%) was the top-rated telemedicine company in America; users rated the platform 885 out of 1,000, higher than the industry average of 856. The company's reach is broad; it's currently part of 55 health plans used by 36,000 employers that cover 80 million lives. Since its inception in 2006, there have been 5.6 million telehealth visits on Amwell's platform, and usage is rising fast -- 2.9 million of those visits occurred in the first half of 2020.

The company's highly scalable business model allows patients to access a certified physician when and wherever they want. Amwell provides 24/7/365 online consultations with its physicians across 50 states, saving patients an average of 2.5 hours per visit over going to a clinic or hospital. During the first half of 2020, Amwell's revenue increased by 77% over the previous year to $122.3 million. Simultaneously, its monthly visit volumes increased by more than fourfold.

With these results in hand, Amwell managed to secure a $100 million investment from Alphabet's Google in August. It's likely much of that will go to research and development, given that management already dedicates a significant portion of its sales (27% over the past six months) to innovating its platform. Amwell is also well capitalized, with $831.6 million in cash and investments compared to $113.4 million in total liabilities. Since its IPO in September, Amwell stock is up over 70%.

2. Teladoc Health 

Like Amwell, Teladoc Health (TDOC 0.69%) is a leading telemedicine service. It operates in 175 countries, with over 70 million people having access to its solutions in the U.S. alone. Management expects up to 10 million virtual visits on its platform this year. 

Unlike Amwell, Teladoc not only focuses on the scalability of its services but also on integrating its platform with other areas of healthcare. In August, the company announced an $18.5 billion merger with diabetes management company Livongo Health (LVGO). The combined business has significant opportunities ahead to pair its operations with behavioral health, prescription drug, and chronic condition management solutions (such as insulin pumps) to create a one-stop delivery model for telehealth.

By 2025, Teladoc and Livongo expect to generate an additional $275 million in revenue by pitching both companies' products to employer health plans, $100 million in sales from expanding Livongo's app service abroad, and $125 million by cross-referring Livongo customers to Teladoc and vice versa. The sky is truly the limit for the company's innovative business model.

At the end of 2023, Teladoc and Livongo project that their combined revenue and operating income, excluding non-cash expenses (EBITDA), will increase to $3.5 billion and $591 million, respectively. That is a huge increase from the $1.3 billion in sales and $126 million in EBITDA the two entities expect to bring in this year.

Currently, Teladoc stock is trading for a forward 11 times price-to-sales (P/S) ratio and 55 times price-to-EBITDA (P/EBITDA). Considering that the two companies are on track to almost triple their revenue and increase their EBITDA fivefold within three years, I think the premium investors are paying for the stock is more than justified. Keep in mind that the company may surpass its own projections if it decides to acquire other healthcare companies that can integrate with its telemedicine model in the meantime. Since October of last year, Teladoc stock is up more than 166%, turning $10,000 into $26,610.

Zhiyuan Sun has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Livongo Health Inc and Teladoc Health. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Teladoc Health Stock Quote
Teladoc Health
$29.20 (0.69%) $0.20
Livongo Health Inc Stock Quote
Livongo Health Inc
Amwell Stock Quote
$3.83 (1.59%) $0.06
Alphabet Stock Quote
$100.44 (-0.55%) $0.55
Alphabet Stock Quote
$100.83 (-0.44%) $0.45

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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