Health insurers diversify away from regulations

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

One year after President Obama signed the health reform overhaul, health insurers are buying less-regulated companies in a bid to offset the lower profits and growth they expect the law to cause.

The Washington Post and Kaiser Health News tallied 2010 purchases by major health insurance companies.

Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group bought ChinaGate, which helps launch medical treatments in China; Picis, a vendor of clinical and financial management systems for hospitals; Wellness, a medical screening company; and six other firms. Other major health insurers have followed suit.

Hartford-based Aetna Inc. acquired Salt Lake City-based Medicity, a business that helps hospitals share patient information.

Louisville-based Humana Inc. bought Concentra, a Texas-based provider of urgent-care clinics in 40 states, as well as a health coaching firm that helps employers keep workers healthy.

And Philadelphia-based Cigna Corp. is looking overseas and plans to begin selling comprehensive health insurance plans to individuals in China in hopes of capitalizing on its burgeoning middle class.

Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. was not mentioned in the article, although it already has business ventures going in China as well as in firms that are tangentially related to health insurance.

Analysts foresee health insurers replaying a bit of their managed care strategy from the early 1990s by acquiring health care providers, in a bid to control medical spending. At the same time, health insurers are trying to grow their presence in the burgeoning business of providing information technology services to or based on the practices of health care providers.

"If you're a health plan, you either become a care-delivery system or an information-services company," said David Brailer, a former George W. Bush administration health official who now leads an investment firm. "The traditional business is dead."


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now