Teladoc sees big hike in visits but posts 'disappointing' 2019 guidance
- Teladoc saw an 80% increase in total visits and 16% increase in total paid memberships in the U.S. for 2018. Revenue grew 79% year over year to nearly $418 million, according to financial results released Wednesday, though it forecast revenue for this year below Wall Street.
- Shares fells about 8% in afternoon trade after the company said total revenue for the first quarter of 2019 is expected to be between $126 million and $129 million with a full-year range of $535 million to $545 million, both projections below consensus, according to Jefferies analysts. Visits for the full year could reach 4 million, which would be nearly double the visits recorded in 2018.
- The New York-based telehealth company, coming off its $352 million buy of Advance Medical in May, beat its own 2018 guidance and Wall Street expectations for revenue.
In a call with investors, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic attributed the growth to virtual care becoming more mainstream and a broadened scope of clinical services. "Our clients are increasingly looking to Teladoc to solve a larger, more diverse portion of their healthcare needs and visits per user increased to a new high watermark in 2018 with more than 1.5 visits per active user in the U.S.," he said.
That jibes with recent research showing annual telehealth visits among the commercially insured rose by more than 50% annually from 2005 to 2014 and more than 260% from 2015 to 2017.
Teladoc's total visits for the year reached 2.6 million, up from 1.5 million in 2017.
Looking forward, Gorevic said integration of Spain-based Advance Medical is ahead of schedule, and added the company is "very, very bullish on growth outside the U.S.," and particularly the Brazilian market.
Jefferies analysts said that despite "disappointing" 2019 guidance, there are "reasons to be hopeful." Major deals are expected to close mid-year, including contracts with UnitedHealth and TRICARE and some management have not specified.
One area of growth Teladoc is targeting is the increasing popular and lucrative Medicare Advantage market. Gorevic said the company is investing ahead of the 2020 plan year, including looking at existing MA clients and making their networks virtually-enabled. "So, we have a broad set of discussions with our health plan clients depending on what their network structure is," he said. "If they own providers then we're frequently going in with our licensed platform to help enable their providers to interact with their members virtually."
Net loss was $24.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a loss of $4.4 million a year prior. For all of 2018, net loss was $97.1 million, versus $106.7 million the year prior. On the investor call, Gorevic predicted the company will be cash flow positive for the first time this year.
Follow Shannon Muchmore on Twitter