CVS Health Corporation's (NYSE:CVS) stock price has climbed steadily this year as the company extends its healthcare reach beyond prescriptions to patient care services. CVS Health's shares have gained 15% so far in 2014, outpacing the S&P 500, which has returned just shy of 9%.
Since CVS Health is one of the nation's largest healthcare companies, with more than $125 billion in sales and $4.6 billion in annual net income, let's take a closer look at what's behind its performance this year.
CVS Health has changed its name to better align itself with its increasingly broader role in healthcare. The company's moved far beyond its neighborhood pharmacy footprint to include a $76 billion a year pharmacy benefit manager that helps negotiate drug prices and run drug adherence programs for major health payers like insurance companies. And CVS Health has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to create a network of more than 850 healthcare clinics in its retail pharmacy stores.
The purpose of these moves has been to more deeply integrate itself into the healthcare life-cycle just as demand for healthcare products and services is expected to surge.
More than 8 million people signed up for insurance during the first year open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and another 7 million people became insured through Medicaid thanks to both expansion states and increased awareness in non-expansion states. Some of those marketplace and Medicaid members were covered previously, but many are new to the healthcare system, suggesting a significant opportunity for CVS Health to replace inefficient emergency rooms as patients' go-to resource for healthcare services.
In addition to demand growth thanks to the ACA, aging America creates another opportunity for growth. Ten thousand baby boomers are turning 65 every day through 2029, and according to IMS Health, people age 60 years or older fill about twice as many scripts per year than people between the ages of 26 and 49 years.
Healthcare when and where needed
Only Walgreen has a bigger pharmacy store footprint than CVS Health's 7,700 stores, but thanks to CVS Health's pharmacy benefit management business, CVS Health is the nation's biggest filler of patient prescriptions, accounting for about 23% of the market.
Although mail-order delivery has allowed pharmacy benefit operations like those run by CVS Health to capture a significant share of prescription volume (CVS Health's PBM's market share is north of 7%), retail pharmacies remain patients biggest source for their medicine. And that means there's plenty of opportunity for CVS Health to capture business away from competitors.
To win that business, CVS Health is opening MinuteClinics to provide convenient, low-cost healthcare to patients needing immunizations, chronic care management, or suffering from the flu; it's creating telehealth solutions that can better connect patients and caregivers with its healthcare providers; and it's encouraging patients to consult with its pharmacists and nurse practitioners on broader healthcare topics like smoking cessation.
Fool-worthy final thoughts
CVS Health's expansion is paying off. Sales improved more than 10%, and earnings per share jumped more than 16% in the second quarter as same-store prescription volume grew by 3.9%.
Those results are encouraging and support CVS Health's aggressive plans to grow its in-store MinuteClinic's to 1,500 locations by 2017. Since MinuteClinic revenue grew by 24% year over year in the second quarter, it would seem there's little reason to expect CVS Health won't deliver on that goal. If it does, then growth in CVS Health's prescription volume -- and sales -- should continue higher.
Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd owns E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may or may not have positions in the companies mentioned. Todd owns Gundalow Advisors, LLC. Gundalow's clients do not have positions in the companies mentioned.The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.