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Investing in the American Health Care Industry

Feeling well is big business.
Learn more about investing ETFs and stocks in the trillion-dollar health care industry.

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Things you’ll learn in this guide:

  • Why health care is one of the largest industries in the U.S.
  • What some of the key companies in the health care industry are
  • How technology is changing the health care industry

Learn more about investing in the health care industry.

Health care is one of the most influential industries in the U.S. Learn how health care stocks can fit into a diversified portfolio.

What is the health care industry?

Americans collectively pay $3.4 trillion per year for health care and related services, according to industry data. By 2025, health care spending will represent almost 20% of the entire U.S. economy.

And no one is exempt. The average American, who has an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, spends $6,690 annually for coverage, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. For a family, the average annual cost is $18,764.

But what healthcare companies take, they can also give back in the form of jobs and high wages. The industry employs more people in the U.S. than any other. In 2017, the number of people working in health care surpassed the next two largest industries, manufacturing and retail.

The sector employs approximately 18 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and 80% of them are women. These workers are paid relatively well, with median annual wages of nearly $65,000, nearly twice the national median income.

The health care industry is composed of public and private companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals that provide medical care and services (hospitals, etc.), produce and develop new medications and equipment (pharmaceutical and biotech companies, laboratory equipment manufacturers), offer insurance, and facilitate patient care.

What are the key health care stocks and companies?

The sector’s key players include large insurance companies such as UnitedHealth Group and Aetna, pharmaceutical companies including Merck and Johnson & Johnson, and many others, like medical distribution company McKesson, CVS Health, and pharmacy management company Express Scripts Holdings.

Many of these companies have also merged, creating larger companies with a wider reach. CVS and health insurer Aetna, for example, announced their intent to merge late last year, which would marry one of the country’s largest insurers with one of the largest drugstore chains.

Other mergers are in the works, too, such as the proposed acquisition of insurer Humana by Walmart.

What’s happening in the health care industry?

Improving health outcomes

Because of the constant churn of new drugs and treatments, the average American’s life expectancy has increased considerably over the years. A child born today can expect to live to around 79 years old, on average, according to the CDC.

For comparison: Babies born in 1950 had an average life expectancy of only around 68 years. And if you were born in 1900, it was around 47 years.

The health care industry also depends on innovation, and it would be difficult to list off all of the industry’s achievements and breakthroughs over the years. Some developments, however, include the creation and discovery of vaccines, anesthetics, antibiotics, radiologic imaging, and more.

Consolidation

Interestingly enough, there are non-health care companies on the periphery of the industry that are looking to get in and disrupt it. Among them are Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan, which together recently announced that they would attempt to team up to contain health care costs for their many employees.

New technology

Technology is proving to be a catalyst for change in almost every industry, and the healthcare sector is no exception. The improvements in health outcomes, patient experiences, and overall success rates are largely rooted in technological innovation within the healthcare field.

Some examples: Doctors and other healthcare professionals have access to massive amounts of computer data that can help them identify trends or patterns in populations. Wearable electronic devices are helping patients track their recoveries from illnesses. And hospitals are being outfitted with self-adjusting beds and robots to monitor patients.

Investing in health care companies

Think the health care sector is worth investing in? You can add health care companies to your portfolio, and there are a few ways to do it.

Investors in the U.S. can buy shares of stock in companies working in and around the industry on a publicly-traded exchange, or buy shares of a fund–such as an exchange-traded fund, or ETF–that offers exposure to those companies.

Investing in health care: single stocks

A single stock is just that, a share of ownership of a company. For example, investors can purchase shares of stock in companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Procter & Gamble. *

Investing in healthcare ETFs (exchange-traded funds):

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a basket of investments bundled into a fund that’s traded on an exchange like the Nasdaq or NYSE.

When you invest in a healthcare ETF, you are effectively buying small fractions of the companies within that ETF. The fraction depends on the weights stocks held in that fund. That fund owns the stocks within it and generally tracks an index–or group of investments that represent part of an industry or investment theme.

Healthcare ETFs vs stocks

ETFs have become popular in recent years as they give investors the opportunity to invest in the performance of a group of stocks without having to buy every single stock in the fund or handpicking single stocks.

Not only can this save time and research, ETFs can offer diversification, which many consider being an essential investing strategy.

Investing in health care on Stash

Want to invest in the American health care sector? You can check out the themed investments offered on Stash as well as single stocks.

*Listed investments currently available on Stash but not necessarily representative of all investments.

Investing with Stash

What is Stash?

Stash is a financial services platform that makes saving and investing available to everyone through education, personalized guidance, and mobile-first technology. Stash speaks to a tech-friendly audience, providing user-friendly education, and personalized guidance.

Stash is for everyone

Stash is for the millions of Americans who have been overcharged and underserved by traditional banks, brokers, and investment advisors. Stash is for people who want to take charge of their financial future but need a helping hand to get them started and see them along their journey.

Getting Started

If you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or a certain visa holder, and are 18 years of age or older, you can sign-up for Stash here.

What Are The Fees?

Stash charges its customers $1 a month to maintain an investment portfolio for accounts with an average monthly balance below $5,000. For average monthly balances of $5,000 or more, the fee adjusts to 0.25% of the total balance you have in the account per year, charged on a monthly basis.

If you decide that a retirement account like a traditional or Roth IRA is suitable for your investing goals, you can open a tax-advantaged account with as little as $15. The fee is $2 a month for accounts with an average monthly balance of less than $5,000 or 0.25% per year, charged monthly, for accounts with an average monthly balance of $5,000 or more.

How is Stash Regulated?

Stash is as an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC is a federal agency that regulates the financial securities market, including exchanges, brokerage firms, and investment funds.

The SEC requires investment advisers, including Stash, to act in the best interests of their customers. It also regulates other financial services companies and requires them to provide customers with clear information about potential investments. It also guards against fraud and deception by financial services firms. (Note: Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.)

You can find out more about Stash on the SEC’s website and its registration with the SEC.

What if Stash Goes Out of Business?

Stash has every intention of sticking around for the long term. However, if anything were to happen to Stash that required us to close up shop, you would maintain complete control of your brokerage account. All the investments in your Stash portfolio are owned by you. Your account will not face any penalties if anything happens to us.

That’s because your investments are held at a federally regulated broker-dealer called Apex Clearing Corporation. This company acts as a custodian for all the investments Stash customers purchase. Apex is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Apex is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which together protects your investments in case of bankruptcy of the company holding your investments.

Your current investments are covered up to a maximum of $500,000 total, including $250,000 in cash balances through the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC). SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value. For uninvested funds, your Stash account is enrolled in something called the Apex FDIC-insured Sweep Program. And here are the details:

Stash accounts are enrolled in an interest-bearing Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured Sweep Program (“Sweep Program”) offered through our clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corp. Uninvested Cash in your Stash account will automatically be transferred into the Sweep Program and will earn interest based on the amount and duration of deposits and applicable interest rates. Deposits to the Sweep Program are covered by FDIC insurance up to the $250,000 limit per customer at each FDIC-insured bank that participates in the Sweep Program.

Once your cash balances are deposited with the participating banks under the Sweep Program, they will no longer be covered by SIPC.

Please ensure that you read the Terms and Conditions of the Sweep Program carefully. As with all investments, you should consider carefully if the Sweep Program meets your investment objectives.

Security

Stash uses 256-bit encryption to secure your information, including personal data and fund purchase history. Stash further secures your account with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, which ensures any and all information sent between Stash and its servers is protected.

Stash will never withdraw funds from your checking or savings account without your consent. In order to purchase any of the investments offered through Stash, you need to link a bank account to transfer funds and to make your desired investment purchase.

If you have more questions about whether it’s safe to link your bank account to Stash, send us an email. You can also read more about Stash’s security protocols here.

The Stash Team

You can reach out with any questions at [email protected] or simply call (800) 205-5164.

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This material has been distributed for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide investment, tax, or legal advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. This material is confidential to the recipient and must not be reproduced or distributed to any other person without the prior written consent of Stash Investments LLC (“Stash”). This material has not been independently verified, is subject to updating and amendment and the material, information and descriptions contained herein are not intended to be complete. This material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic, market or political conditions and should not be construed as research. This material may not be current and Stash has no obligation to provide any updates or changes. Any reference to a specific company or security does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any such investment. This material does not take into account the financial position or particular needs or investment objectives of any individual or entity. Certain information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission.

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