A large managed care company has extended and deepened its relationship with a large hospital company.

The managed care arm of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., has signed a nationwide provider agreement with HCA Inc., Nashville, Tenn., the companies say.

The agreement will give members of UnitedHealthcare health plans access to HCA hospitals until 2011, the companies say.

The agreement also affects the networks of members of UnitedHealth’s Secure Horizons Medicare plans and the company’s Mid-Atlantic Medical Services, PacifiCare and Neighborhood Health Partnership affiliates, according to UnitedHealth and HCA.

The new agreement immediately gives the UnitedHealth plan members access to HCA-owned facilities in Denver, South Florida and Tampa, Fla.

By the end of 2006, the agreement will open HCA facilities to UnitedHealth plan members in Kansas City, Mo.; the Florida Panhandle; Frankfort, Ky.; and Nevada, according to UnitedHealth and HCA.