Justice Department Launches UnitedHealth Group Antitrust Investigation

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The U.S. Justice Department is investigating UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) due to antitrust concerns.

During the past two years, the insurance giant has completed a slew of acquisitions spanning much of the health care continuum — including hospice, palliative care and home health — as well as health care technology, largely through its subsidiary Optum.


Now federal regulators are taking a closer look, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The investigators have in recent weeks been interviewing health care industry representatives in sectors where UnitedHealth competes, including doctor groups, according to people with knowledge of the meetings,” the Journal indicated.

During these interviews, investigators have been asking questions about the relationships between the company’s UnitedHealthcare insurance business and Optum Health, according to the Journal.


Optum Health currently serves more than 4.1 million patients in value-based care arrangements across all of its clinical business lines. This reflects patient census growth of about 900,000 people during 2023. The company in Q4 of last year saw a 33.9% increase in revenue year-over-year, reaching in excess of $24.5 million.

Among the company’s many large investments are acquisitions of large home health and hospice companies. Optum in June 2023 penned an agreement to acquire Amedisys in an all-cash transaction of $101 per share, or about $3.3 billion. This followed its $5.4 billion acquisition of LHC Group, which closed last February.

This is not the first time that the Justice Department has investigated UnitedHealth Group’s potential deals.

The agency sought to block Optum’s $13 billion purchase of Change Healthcare, also on antitrust grounds. Investigators alleged that the deal would give UnitedHealth Group access to sensitive information about its competitors in the payer space. However, a federal court cleared the way for that transaction.

The federal government has been taking a stronger stance on antitrust issues. The Biden Administration has plans to implement an executive order designed to curb antitrust violations and enhance oversight.

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