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Justice Department sues to halt UnitedHealth Group deal and 3 more news items

Health insurers have made several moves to grow their networks, become more efficient and institute new policies over the last few weeks, and one major company was hit with a lawsuit by the Justice Department.

Four payer news updates:

1. UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum's planned acquisition of health technology company Change Healthcare is on the rocks after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit Feb. 24 to halt the deal. The $13 billion transaction allegedly would give Optum access to data from other insurers and give Optum a monopoly on the market for technology used by health insurers to process claims, according to the suit.

2. UnitedHealthcare added a requirement for members in Arkansas, Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina to obtain prior authorization before undergoing physical and occupational therapy at multidisciplinary offices and outpatient hospitals. The rule went into effect Feb. 1 and applies to members with new and ongoing physical and occupational therapy.

3. Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Patina Medical Group joined the Independence Blue Cross provider network. The primary care practice focuses on patients 65 and older and now will be available for two of the payer's Medicare Advantage plans.

4. Florida Blue, a subsidiary of GuideWell, installed Olive's artificial intelligence technology to lower prior authorization turnover times to an average of 10 days. The platform can also reduce unnecessary prior authorizations by 27 percent, according to the payer.


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