UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest and most diversified health insurance companies in the United States. On Monday, they announced that they plan to buy Surgical Care Affiliates for $2.3 billion. Surgical Care has a chain of outpatient surgery centers. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017.
UnitedHealth Group to buy Surgical Care
UnitedHealth Group is based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Their annual revenues for 2016 were around $180 billion dollars. They offer products and services through two operating businesses, United HealthCare and Optum. Optum is a new business brand of UnitedHealth Group. It is also referred to as OptumCare. OptumCare competes with Tenet Healthcare and
Surgical Care Affiliates is based in Deerfield, Illinois. They operate 205 surgical facilities, including specialized hospitals, in partnership with surgeons in 30 states. Surgical Care Affiliates provides care to 1 million patients annually. The acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates is expected to add around $1.5 billion in revenue to OptumCare.
UnitedHealth bills the move as a strategy to capitalize on the shift of the healthcare system away from fee-for-service medicine. Away from an emphasis on volume to value-based care. Medical treatment done in the right place at the right time. This does sound good for investors but for the average patient probably not so good.
♦ Consolidation has not translated into reduced costs for patients. Consolidation has put more pressure on physicians. Many physicians have responded by banding together to form larger groups so they can be in a stronger negotiating position with insurance companies. This is getting more difficult as companies like UnitedHealth control an ever increasing portion of the pie.
Health care is changing in America and it isn’t because of Obamacare or Trumpcare or Somethingcare.
Gone are the individual practices and in their place the cold corporate entity.