“The Department of Justice has filed suit to intervene in UnitedHealth Group’s acquisition of Change Healthcare, just days shy of the company’s planned consummation date of Feb. 27.”
“In an announcement, the DOJ says that the deal would harm competition in commercial health markets as well as the market for technology that insurers use to process claims and reduce healthcare costs. The deal is valued at $8 billion in cash and $5 billion in debt.”
“The complaint was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.”
“’Quality health insurance should be accessible to all Americans,’ said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement. ‘If America’s largest health insurer is permitted to acquire a major rival for critical health care claims technologies, it will undermine competition for health insurance and stifle innovation in the employer health insurance markets. The Justice Department is committed to challenging anti-competitive mergers, particularly those at the intersection of health care and data.'”
“DOJ alleges in the complaint that the merger would give UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of the country’s largest commercial insurer, UnitedHealthcare, access to a treasure trove of data on its competitors’ sensitive information. This could be used to give the company a leg up and would eliminate its only major rival in first-pass claims editing technology.”
“Change currently markets itself as a valuable partner to insurers, and folding it into UnitedHealth would eliminate a neutral party in the market, DOJ said. Should the acquisition be finalized, UHG intends to fold Change into its Optum subsidiary…” Read the full article here.
Source: DOJ sues to block UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare deal – By Paige Minemyer, February 24, 2022. Fierce Healthcare.