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UnitedHealth Completes California Acquisition

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. announced it has completed its acquisition of PacifiCare Life and Health Insurance Company.

Under the agreement, stockholders for PacifiCare, a subsidiary of PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Cypress, Calif., are to receive $21.50 in cash and 1.10 shares of UnitedHealth Group, Minneapolis, for each share of PacifiCare common stock.

The announcement came after the Dept. of Justice approved the merger.

According to a report in Reuters, the DOJ’s antitrust division imposed some provisions on the deal aimed at preserving competition in the marketplace.

The division approved the deal after UnitedHealth agreed to shed parts of PacifiCare’s commercial health insurance business in Tucson, Ariz. and Boulder, Colo.

The division also required the companies to revise and eventually end a network access agreement with CareTrust Networks, a unit of Blue Shield of California, according to the report.

Earlier this week, California regulators approved the merger after the companies agreed to make investments and charitable contributions to help underserved communities.

In an unrelated development, regulators in Georgia announced they were fining UnitedHealth and its Georgia subsidiary $2.8 million for failing to pay healthcare claims on time.

The office of Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine concluded the United Healthcare companies failed to pay more than 75,000 claims in line with Georgia’s prompt-pay law, which requires insurers to pay a claim within 15 working days.

Under a consent agreement with UnitedHealth, Georgia will refund $500,000 of the fine if the company remains in compliance for a year.


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