8 recent payer mergers and acquisitions

From Anthem formalizing its purchase of Integra Managed Care to Optum quietly buying up primary care groups in Oregon, these are eight recent mergers and acquisitions involving payers:

Novant Health set to buy stake in Medicare Advantage plan
Winston Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health said May 18 it has signed a letter of intent to own a portion of HealthTeam Advantage, a Medicare Advantage plan providing coverage to more than 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the state. HealthTeam Advantage is owned by Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Health, which will maintain majority ownership.

Anthem finalizes acquisition of Integra Managed Care
Anthem completed its acquisition of Integra Managed Care, purchasing the Lake Success, N.Y.-based managed care company for an undisclosed amount May 5. Integra manages care plans for over 40,000 Medicaid members with long-term care needs and disabilities in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.

Medica paid over $230M for majority stake in Wisconsin payer
Medica paid nearly $233 million in 2021 to acquire a 55 percent stake in Madison, Wis.-based Dean Health Plan, the Star Tribune reported May 5. Dean Health Plan has nearly 500,000 members across Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. Medica serves about 1.5 million members. The deal closed in December and extended Medica's existing operations in Missouri and Wisconsin, while adding a few counties in Illinois near St. Louis. Medica also began selling individual plans in 2022 in Phoenix and a Medicare plan in parts of Wyoming, bringing the payer's overall service area to 12 states.

Optum, Atrius Health's $236M merger receives final approval
The Massachusetts Supreme Court approved a $236 million merger between UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum and Atrius Health on April 29. The $236 million in proceeds will be given to a foundation that does charitable work similar to Atrius' mission. Optum will also invest $200 million into Atrius over five years for provider recruitment and infrastructure. Atrius employs 645 physicians and primary care providers, along with 421 additional clinicians.

Andre Iguodala-funded Players Health acquires health plan broker Life Benefits
Players Health, a youth sports health plan funded by Golden State Warriors star Andre Iguodala, purchased Dallas-based health insurance brokerage firm Life Benefits in April. The purchase will allow Minneapolis-based Players Health to offer health plans for coaches and administrators who work for youth sports organizations. 

UnitedHealth Group quietly buys Oregon medical groups
UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum quietly acquired at least two independent primary care groups in Oregon, according to an April 21 local news report. Optum purchased Eugene-based Oregon Medical Group in late 2020 and Portland-based GreenField Health in 2021. Combined, the two systems have about 120 doctors and clinicians at 11 facilities. UnitedHealth never publicly announced the purchases.

BCBS Michigan to acquire commercial underwriting company AmeriTrust
Blue Cross Blue Shield subsidiary AF Group will purchase Southfield, Mich.-based AmeriTrust Group for an undisclosed amount. The Detroit-based payer said April 12 it aims to diversify its business beyond healthcare by incorporating AmeriTrust's specialty insurance offerings in workers' compensation, commercial packages and automotive business. The purchase from Chinese conglomerate Fosun is expected to be completed after regulatory approvals.

Optum reportedly buys Refresh Mental Health
UnitedHealth Group's Optum unit bought Refresh Mental Health from a private equity firm for an undisclosed amount, Axios reported March 24. Jacksonville Beach, Fla.-based Refresh Mental Health runs a network of more than 300 outpatient sites across 37 states and has more than 1,500 employees.

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