Amid the pandemic, the direct-to-consumer mental health market has boomed. Hims & Hers Health (NYSE: HIMS) broke into the behavioral health arena, while Talkspace took things public, just to name a couple examples.
And now, Optum is also throwing its hat into the ring.
Optum is the fastest growing business under the multinational managed healthcare and insurance company UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH). It recently rolled out a cash-only telehealth offering so people can get prescriptions to treat conditions like anxiety and depression, as well as for erectile dysfunction, birth control and more.
The offerings are available under the Optum Store, the company’s online pharmacy, which it launched in November 2020. It added mental health services — which include virtual therapy, medication and other support — in June, according to Business Insider (BI).
Optum is offering the services on a subscription basis, with medication and support priced at $59 per month after the first month; therapy at $309 per month after the first month; and therapy, medication and support at $359 per month after the first month.
The offerings rival those offered by direct-to-consumer companies such as Ro, Talkspace, Hims & Hers and even Amazon, which recently started selling prescription-drugs at a discount to Prime customers.
“Some of these new partnerships or offerings are a direct result of new entrants into the market, such as Amazon and Walmart, enhancing their presence in healthcare,” A.J. Loiacono — the CEO of the pharmacy benefit manager Capital Rx — told BI, in regards to players like Optum breaking into the space.
Despite all the competition, Hims & Hers CEO Andrew Dudum said he’s not worried about the influx of companies rolling out direct-to-consumer offerings.
“I’m excited that there are investment dollars moving into the space, because frankly a lot of people need help in this country,” Dudum recently said during Hims’ Q2 earnings call. “But I think the reality is, you’ve got a $4 trillion market, of which I think about 80% of healthcare delivery is going to be moving toward essentially a delivery service that looks like Hims & Hers in the next 5 or 10 years. So this market is massive.”