DOJ to investigate UnitedHealth’s $13B Change buy

The US Department of Justice launches a full investigation into the $ 13 billion acquisition of UnitedHealth Group healthcare company Data Health after the US hospital sharply increased lobby competition American Hospital.

  • On Wednesday, as part of its review of ongoing mergers, the DOJ requested additional information and documents from UnitedHealth and Change, effectively extending the standard 30-day window for the preliminary investigation. “The parties have worked in partnership with the Department of Justice and will continue to do so,” Change said in a report filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • UnitedHealth January announced plans to acquire Change in Nashville for $ 8 billion in cash and $ 5 billion in debt. The merger, which aims to strengthen UnitedHealth’s data analytics arm, Optum Insight, could also reduce competition for IT healthcare and revenue cycle management services and give UnitedHealth’s payments business an unfair advantage. During contract negotiations with hospitals, the AHA said in a letter to antitrust regulators. Moon

The UnitedHealth Modification purchase was initially scheduled to close in the second half of this year, although the DOJ’s decision to further investigate the deal may be extended until then. If the marriage is approved, it will be a logical link to Optum’s strengths in healthcare business and innovation, and further Optum’s dominance in data analytics, analysts said.

Optum is one of the largest providers of healthcare IT services in the United States. Data analytics affiliate Optum Insight and independent operator Change Healthcare have extensive customer lists with thousands of hospitals and paid links. March letter to DOJ antitrust department.

The AHA urged federal regulators to subject the deal to scrutiny, arguing it would reduce competition between the various IT service providers used to handle insurance payments and payments, including regulators, claims, payment accuracy, sales cycle management, and clinical decision support.

The lobby, which represents US hospitals and healthcare systems, is also concerned that the $ 13 billion bonds will lead to massive aggregation of healthcare data under UnitedHealth, which also operates the biggest payer. Private. From the largest United Healthcare in the country.

It can change decisions about patient care, the processing of claims and denials, and allow the payer to chart a course for coverage negotiations. The change currently acts as an independent operator and major competitor as a natural test against the outcome, the AHA said.

Responding to concerns about competition, an Optum spokesperson told Healthcare Dive earlier this month that the operations of Optum and United Healthcare would remain separate despite being strategic.

UnitedHealth also said in an SEC filing in early March that it would sell assets if regulators demand it, even if disposals worth more than $ 650 million are a “heavy condition.” For UnitedHealth Group and can say that Minnetonka, a Minnesota – based company is asking the health care provider for the acquisition as a whole.

However, the Justice Department’s decision to duplicate the investigation should come as no surprise to the company, as UnitedHealth has already given antitrust officials more time to conduct a preliminary review of the complex settlement by collecting and reloading critical documents in February.

Moreover, after years of what critics have called lax control over the Trump administration, President Joe Biden’s administration intends to be more aggressive in reviewing and integrating antitrust laws.