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4 Telehealth Stocks Amid Coronavirus-Led Lockdown

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Demand for telemedicine and telehealth services has risen sharply in the past few weeks, largely owing to the American populace staying home because of the pandemic-triggered lockdown.

In addition, President Donald Trump’s initiative to make remote healthcare more accessible to the public during this period of distress has been yielding results. Let us assess the telehealth market closely and make a note of its major drivers.

Telemedicine: Crucial in the Current Scenario

Although telehealth services have been on the rise over the years, it hasn’t acquired the mainstream status. A major reason for this is that the long-distance healthcare solution changes doctor-patient interactivity, which may impact medical diagnosis and consultation. After all, some level of physical interactivity, such as taking the pulse or listening to the chest is necessary for better diagnosis.

However, the scenario is very different in the light of the novel coronavirus. Since this highly infectious, flu-like disease puts stringent social-distancing measures in place, remote healthcare is the only viable option for patients who aren’t critically ill. Given that hospitals around the country are spilling with coronavirus patients, it’s not a wise move to visit one physically for diagnosis as the fear of infection in such a place looms large.

Telemedicine offers the much-needed physical distance between doctors and patients at the moment. Moreover, public-health systems are adapting to this new trend, realizing its immense potential. In fact, just last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded its access to Medicare telehealth services for nearly 60 million elderly people in the country. The policy changes were developed on the regulatory flexibilities granted under Trump’s emergency declaration.

The package of telehealth facilities is being broadened on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Under this Act effective Mar 6, 2020, Medicare provides coverage for office, hospital and other visits equipped with telehealth facilities in the United States and at patients’ residences.

The efficiency and low-risk nature of video medical consultation made it an extremely popular choice for now. Further, features like chatbots and smartphones equipped with remote-self examination systems are proving to be highly helpful.

Telehealth Market Holds Massive Opportunities

This ascending demand for remote medical expertise is boosting the telehealth market. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global telehealth market is projected to witness a CAGR of 16.9% during the 2020-2025 forecast period, touching $55.6 billion by 2025 from $25.4 billion in 2020.

4 Stocks to Consider

We have, therefore, chosen four companies that offer telehealth services. All of these stocks that carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Teladoc Health, Inc. (TDOC - Free Report) is a provider of virtual healthcare services on a business-to-business basis. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Teladoc Health’s current-year earnings has moved 0.9% north in the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next quarter is 29.3%. Teladoc Health, which belongs to the Zacks Medical Services industry, carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Anthem, Inc. (ANTM - Free Report)  operates as a health benefits company. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Anthem’s current-year earnings has moved 0.6% north in the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next quarter is 41.2%. Anthem, which belongs to the Zacks Medical - HMOsindustry, carries a Zacks Rank #3.

CVS Health Corporation (CVS - Free Report) is a provider of health services and plans. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CVS Health’s current-year earnings has moved 0.1% north in the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next quarter is 1.1%. CVS Health, which belongs to the Zacks Retail - Pharmacies and Drug Stores industry, carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Humana Inc. (HUM - Free Report) is a health and well-being company. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Humana’s current-year earnings has moved 1.2% north in the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next quarter is 18.4%. Humana, which belongs to the Zacks Medical - HMOs industry, carriesa Zacks Rank #3.

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