DOJ taking a closer look at Optum-Change deal amid antitrust concerns

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is digging further into UnitedHealth Group's planned $13 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare.

In a document filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Change said the DOJ issued a second request for additional information and documentary materials on the deal. The request allows regulators an additional 30 days to take a look at the merger.

That regulators had concerns was evident in discussions, according to prior filings from Change.

The deal was first announced in January, with UnitedHealth saying it would purchase the revenue management company for $7.84 billion in cash and $5 billion in debt. The healthcare giant intends to fold it into its Optum subsidiary.

RELATED: UnitedHealth Group's Optum to buy Change Healthcare for $13B

The two parties expect the deal to close in the second half of 2021, although a lengthy regulatory review could push back the timeline.

UnitedHealth said Change's capabilities in tandem with OptumInsights' analytics platform would lead to more accurate and quicker processing.

The reception to the acquisition hasn't been completely rosy, however. Earlier this month, the American Hospital Association (AHA) urged the DOJ to probe the deal due to antitrust concerns. The group warned the deal could lead to a "massive consolidation" of healthcare data.

Losing a competitor in the market would likely lead to higher costs for providers, especially as Change brands itself as a company that isn't tied to a particular insurer, the AHA said.