UnitedHealth Group’s Optum is in talks to acquire behavioral telehealth provider AbleTo for $470 million, according to CNBC. The deal would bring together the two companies at a time when the demand for telehealth services is in the spotlight.

Founded in 2008, New York-based AbleTo offers eight-week virtual therapy programs, which connect users to a therapist and a coach. Since the pandemic started, the company has seen a 25% uptick in the number of people using its services, AbleTo Chief Medical Officer Reena Pande said in a recent interview. The company currently works with nine different insurers.

United’s OptumHealth division, which covers pharmacy benefits, technology and consulting, already has an existing relationship with AbleTo. Optum Ventures closed out AbleTo’s most recent funding round in January of 2019 for an undisclosed amount. The company has raised more than $46 million to date.

AbleTo’s new CEO, Trip Hofer, is also no stranger to Optum. He joined the company in mid-2018, after former CEO Rob Rebak left the company to head up Forefront Telecare. Hofer had worked with Optum for six years, most recently serving as the company’s COO in 2012, according to his LinkedIn.

Optum has been growing at a steady clip. The division saw its revenues grow more than 25% last year and continued to see double-digit growth even through March.

Neither AbleTo nor Optum could be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Other telehealth mergers made headlines in recent months, before the pandemic started. Earlier this year, Teladoc acquired competitor InTouch Health for $600 million. American Well, another telehealth giant, acquired behavioral health provider Aligned Telehealth for an undisclosed amount at the end of 2019.

Photo credit: Andrey Suslov, Getty Images



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