UnitedHealth has remained mostly mum about why it is splitting from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) at the end of this month--aside from saying it is no longer being well represented and that AHIP has "set forth a strategy and direction it feels best serves a membership profile and need that does not fit UnitedHealth Group and our diversified portfolio."
It's possible, however, that the nation's largest for-profit insurer and its diversified portfolio simply outgrew the nation's largest industry trade group.
"UnitedHealth has become a much more multifaceted insurer over the past several years," William Bithany, M.D., a healthcare management consultant, tells Health Care Dive.
Bithany points to UnitedHealth's Optum business line, which provides information and technology-enabled health services and expanded into patient care about four years ago, as a key example of the insurer's growth.
Additionally, UnitedHealth recently purchased pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran for $12.8 billion, which "makes it a powerful force in determining pharmaceutical prices and cements its ability to control healthcare formularies across many markets," he adds.
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