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Justice Department Requires Divestiture in UnitedHealth Group's Acquisition of Sierra Health Services
Date:2/25/2008

tition between United and Sierra, the first and second largest sellers of Medicare Advantage plans in the Las Vegas area, allowing United to increase prices and reduce the quality of Medicare Advantage plans sold to seniors in the Las Vegas area, the Department said. Under the proposed settlement, United must promptly divest most of its assets relating to its Medicare Advantage business in the Las Vegas area. The Department has tentatively approved Humana Inc. as the acquirer, and United must first attempt to sell the assets to Humana before selling to another purchaser.

"This divestiture ensures that senior citizens and others will continue to benefit from competition between sellers of Medicare Advantage products," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division. "We are committed to preserving competition in the health insurance industry because this competition spurs insurers to lower prices, enhance services, and offer innovative new products."

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, current enrollees of United's Medicare Advantage plans will continue to have substantially the same access to providers, including doctors, hospitals, and other medical services, after the divestiture as before.

The Justice Department worked closely with the Nevada Attorney General's office in its investigation of the United-Sierra merger. Today, the state of Nevada announced its own settlement with United and Sierra. "This is another example of close cooperation between the Department's Antitrust Division and state antitrust officials resulting in an outcome that protects competition and benefits consumers," said Barnett.

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest health insurer in the United States, is a Minnesota corporation headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn. In 2007, United reported revenues of approximately $75 billion.

Sierra Health Services Inc., the largest health insurer in the L
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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