DOJ Takes Closer Look at UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare Deal
– In an official filing, the Antitrust Division of the Department and Justice (DOJ) asked officials from both UnitedHealth Group and Change Healthcare for additional information on their proposed acquisition deal.
The waiting period, under the HSR Act will now go beyond the 30-day period after substantial compliance by both companies.
At the beginning of January, UnitedHealth Group entered into a proposal to acquire Change Healthcare for $8 billion.
The companies will work to provide software and data analytics, technology-enabled services and research, and advisory and revenue cycle management offerings to help improve healthcare work at a lower cost.
Change Healthcare brings key technologies, connections, and advanced clinical decisions, as well as administrative and financial support capabilities.
The technology aims to help providers access clinical criteria more easily throughout their workflow. The company can also provide better data to integrate into providers’ everyday routine.
UnitedHealth Group and Change Healthcare will also aim to reduce administrative waste by leveraging advanced data analytics to gain insight from the data in Change Healthcare’s intelligent health network.
The combined company will also have the ability to streamline payment processes.
UnitedHealth Group brings modern analytics, clinical expertise, innovative technologies, and extensive experience in improving operational and clinical performance, the company said in the press release
UnitedHealth Group also owns the country’s largest health insurer and has a growing care delivery branch, which has more than 50,000 physicians. The company had revenues of $257 billion in 2020.
If the deal closes, it would create one of the largest US health services and insurance providers.
In the filing, Change Healthcare said that the companies are “cooperatively” working with the DOJ and will continue to do so.
For example, in mid-February, UnitedHealth Group voluntarily withdrew its premerger notification and report form and then refiled the premerger notification and report form at the end of February.
But critics of the proposed merger include the American Hospital Association (AHA), which said in an official letter that the deal could reduce competition and patients may have to pay more and see lower quality clinical outcomes.
AHA also said that the companies are the largest suppliers of essential services, including clearinghouses, that rout claims to insurers for payment.
“The proposed acquisition would produce a massive consolidation of competitively sensitive health care data and shift such data from Change Healthcare, a neutral third party, to Optum, a subsidiary of UHG,” AHA said in the letter.
“Optum’s proposed acquisition of Change will reduce the competition between two similarly scaled competitors for these services. The acquisition also will concentrate an immense volume of competitively sensitive data in the hands of the most powerful health insurance company in the United States, with substantial clinical provider and health insurance assets, and ultimately removes a neutral intermediary,” the company continued.