US Opens UnitedHealth Antitrust Investigation

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an antitrust inquiry into UnitedHealth Group, citing people with knowledge of the situation.
According to the article, investigators have been speaking with officials of the healthcare industry in areas where UnitedHealth is a competitor, such as physician organizations, in recent weeks.

Investigators have questioned them about a variety of topics during their interviews, such as specific connections between the business’s Optum health services division and its UnitedHealthcare insurance unit, which owns physician groups among other assets.

Optum Health, a division of UnitedHealth, provides a variety of healthcare services, including financial counseling, mental health assistance, and pharmacy benefit management.

According to the WSJ story, which cited the persons, investigators have inquired about the effects of the company’s doctor-group purchases on competitors and customers.

In February 2022, the DoJ filed a lawsuit to halt UnitedHealth Group’s acquisition of Change Healthcare; nonetheless, the transaction was eventually carried out that same year.

In response to a Reuters request for comment, UnitedHealth did not immediately provide a response, and the DoJ declined to comment.

The company’s stock ended the day 2.3% down.

Examiner Media revealed on Monday, citing an internal email, that the Department of Justice notified UnitedHealth in October of last year that it had started a “non-public antitrust investigation into the company.”

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