UnitedHealth, Amedisys deal under more scrutiny

Oregon regulators will open a review into UnitedHealth Group's proposed acquisition of Amedisys, after a preliminary report found the deal could hurt competition in the state's markets. 

The Oregon Health Care Market Oversight Committee published a preliminary report March 14 detailing concerns the proposed acquisition would further consolidate home health and hospice markets in the state. 

In June 2023, UnitedHealth Group offered to purchase home health provider Amedisys for $3.3 billion.The proposed deal is facing an antitrust review from the Justice Department. 

 UnitedHealth Group's health services subsidiary, Optum, owns several home health and hospice providers in Oregon, according to the report. Optum acquired the practices when it bought LHC Group, another home health provider, in 2023. Amedisys also operates multiple practices in Oregon.

If UnitedHealth Group purchases Amedisys, its share of the home health market in Oregon will increase from 6% to 11%, and its share of the hospice market would increase from 4% to 6%. These increases could be higher on the local level, according to the oversight committee. 

UnitedHealthcare, UnitedHealth Group's insurance arm, is the second-largest insurer in the state, and accounts for around 15% of Medicare Advantage members in the state, according to the report. The oversight committee said this vertical consolidation could disadvantage competing providers. 

The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into UnitedHealth Group, including questions on the relationship between its insurance unit and Optum. 

"Given the increase in concentration associated with the transaction, the allegations of anticompetitive behavior levied against UHG, and UHG's position as a vertically integrated insurer/provider in Oregon, further analysis is needed to assess the potential impacts of the proposed transaction on competition in Oregon's healthcare markets," the committee wrote in its report.

In a March 19 regulatory filing, Amedisys said the review from the Oregon Health Authority will be completed within 180 days of Dec. 4. 

Becker's has reached out to UnitedHealth Group for comment and will update this article if more information becomes available. 

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