AG strikes health care anti-trust pact

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser reached agreement in an anti-trust challenge involving UnitedHealth Group and DaVita Inc. to make sure those in Colorado Springs who have health care through Medicare Advantage aren’t subject to anticompetitive effects of a merger of the two companies.

At issue is UnitedHealth Group’s $4.3 billion bid to acquire the physician practice group of DaVita Inc.

DaVita Medical Group owns two large physicians groups here, while UnitedHealth is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans in the region .

In December 2017, UnitedHealth Group announced its subsidiary, Optum, would acquire DaVita Medical Group. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigated the merger but declined to seek any remedies to protect Colorado consumers.

Weiser then sought to enforce the antitrust laws and address foreseen anticompetitive outcomes in Colorado.

A consent judgment filed June 19. It requires UnitedHealth to lift its exclusive contract with Centura Health for at least 3.5 years, and DaVita Medical Group to extend its agreement with Humana, a UnitedHealth rival, through at least 2020.