NU Online News Service, Aug. 3, 2004, 3:12 p.m. EDT

A group of New Jersey doctors are trying to disrupt the acquisition of Oxford Health Plans Inc. by UnitedHealth Group Inc.[@@]

UnitedHealth, Minnetonka, Minn., recently completed a $3.7 billion acquisition of Oxford, Trumbull, Conn.

The Medical Society of New Jersey, Lawrenceville, N.J., has filed a suit opposing the deal in a New Jersey state court. The society is asking for a “lieu of prerogative writ” against Holly Bakke, the commissioner of the state Department of Banking and Insurance.

The society also is asking for writs against Clifford Lacey, the commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services and the managed care division of UnitedHealth.

The society wants a state court judge to order a new trial that would give the society a chance to overturn state regulatory decisions that let UnitedHealth proceed with the deal.

UnitedHealth will end up with a market share “approaching 20%” throughout the state and an even higher market share in 6 northern counties that are near New York, the society says.

“The market shares in these regions violate anti-competitive guidelines set by the state attorney general’s office,” the society contends.