DOJ OKs UnitedHealth buyout of Sierra

If it's willing to divest most of its Medicare Advantage business in the Las Vegas metro, UnitedHealth Group may proceed with its $2.6 billion buyout of Sierra Health Services, the U.S. Department of Justice has ruled. At the same time, the Nevada Attorney General announced that it had reached a parallel settlement under which it would also allow the deal to proceed. Sierra, which has revenues of $1.9 billion, is the largest health insurer in the Las Vegas metro area.

The original deal would have given UHG a 94 percent share of the Medicare Advantage market in Las Vegas, an obvious non-starter from an antitrust standpoint. The deal also raised the hackles of many observers, including the AMA. Now, Humana has been named as a possible buyer for the UHG's Medicare Advantage book of business in Las Vegas, the DOJ announcement said. UHG currently has 82,000 seniors enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans, which generate $840 million per year.

To learn more about the deal:
- read this Modern Healthcare item (reg. req.)
- read the DOJ press release

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