Highmark Health Cites Strong Sales at Visionworks as Contributor to First-Half Financial Results

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PITTSBURGH, Pa.—Highmark Health, the second largest integrated health care delivery and financing network in the nation, on Thursday reported first-half financial results showing an excess of revenue over expenses of $629 million and an operating gain of $410 million. The firm credited “strong sales” at its Visionworks optical retail unit, as well as other factors, as contributing to the group's “extended positive financial momentum.” Total consolidated revenues for Highmark Health were $9.2 billion for the first six months of the year, which compared with just under $9.4 billion in the year-ago period, the announcement noted.

Highmark’s diversified businesses group—which includes Visionworks—reported combined earnings of $80 million through June 30, “which is even with prior year results, driven by continued strong performance by United Concordia Dental and growth in comparable store sales at Visionworks,” the announcement noted.

“Visionworks experienced strong sales in the first quarter, consistent with industry trends, resulting in an operating gain of $3 million, an increase of $10 million over the previous year,” the announcement added. (The firm did not report a sales total for Visionworks in the first half of 2019 or 2018.) “This revenue growth, as well as the pending sale of the vision business, delivers on the multi-year turnaround plan that positions the business for continued success.”

Highmark Health executives, on a conference call following the announcement, noted that the strong sales at Visionworks in the first half of 2019 are indicative of the “success of the turnaround of the business that began in 2017.”

Highmark Health, in June, agreed to sell the 725–location Visionworks business to VSP Global, as VMAIL reported. The closing of the deal awaits regulatory approvals. Executives on the conference call noted that the closing of the deal is expected to “free up capital of $230 million” for the parent company.

“We have continued to make significant progress in the purposeful execution of our strategy,” Highmark Health president and chief executive officer David Holmberg said in the announcement. “No health organization in the country is doing more than Highmark Health to strategically invest in bringing new types of access and new clinical resources to the people and communities that we serve. This will not change. In fact, we are staying the course, and executing on our game plan to provide more health care choices in the community and to build a more effective and affordable community-based health care network.”