DOJ approves UnitedHealth as purchaser in Harvard Pilgrim’s required well being plan divestiture 

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The Division of Justice is looking for to dam Harvard Pilgrim Well being Care’s proposed merger with Well being Plan Holdings until it divests the Tufts Well being Freedom plan, officers stated Tuesday. 

Officers within the Justice Division’s Antitrust Division, together with the New Hampshire Workplace of Legal professional Normal, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit Tuesday within the U.S. District Court docket for the District of New Hampshire to cease the deal.

The division proposed a settlement on the identical time, approving UnitedHealth Group or another accredited purchaser of Tufts Freedom, a part of Well being Plan Holdings’ industrial medical health insurance enterprise in New Hampshire. Officers stated the deal would preserve competitors for the industrial medical health insurance marketplace for employers with fewer than 100 staff. 

“Individuals spend trillions of {dollars} on healthcare annually, and competitors between well being insurers is important to offering customers with entry to high quality care at inexpensive charges,” stated Assistant Legal professional Normal Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division in an announcement. “This merger, as initially structured, possible would have led to greater costs, poorer high quality, and lowered selection for a lot of customers all through the state,”

RELATED: Harvard Pilgrim Well being Care, Tufts Well being Plan to merge

In 2019, Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts Well being Plan introduced plans to merge in an effort to “harness the mixed strengths” of each organizations. The joint insurer would serve 2.four million members in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire and would supply each employer-sponsored and authorities plans.

In accordance with the division’s grievance, Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts Freedom are two of the three prime industrial group well being insurers that supply plans to small employers in New Hampshire. The division has closed its investigation into the merger’s potential results in Massachusetts after concluding that the merger was unlikely to considerably reduce competitors there.

Harvard Pilgrim is a regional well being insurer primarily based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with roughly $three billion in annual income, the overwhelming majority coming from industrial insurance coverage merchandise. Well being Plan Holdings is a regional insurer primarily based in Watertown, Massachusetts, with annual income of greater than $5.5 billion, with roughly one-third coming from industrial insurance coverage merchandise. Well being Plan Holdings sells industrial group medical health insurance plans to small and enormous employer teams in New Hampshire by Tufts Freedom.

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