UnitedHealth buys 2 Florida health plans

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2012 - 5:17 PM

The added companies will extend insurer's work with seniors on Medicare.

UnitedHealth Group said Tuesday that it is buying two Florida-based health plans that focus on seniors, continuing its pattern of growth by acquisition.

In separate deals, the Minnetonka-based company picked up Preferred Care Partners and Medica HealthCare Plans, companies that sell insurance and operate hospitals and clinics in south and central Florida.

Terms were not disclosed.

United Healthcare, which is the insurance division of UnitedHealth Group, already leads the nation in number of enrolled customers and in providing insurance for seniors. The company claims to cover one in five of the country's Medicare recipients.

The purchases of Preferred Care and Medica (no affiliation to the Minnetonka-based nonprofit plan) will enhance UnitedHealthcare's offerings in Florida, where it provides access to a network of more than 21,000 physicians and 161 hospitals, according to the company.

"Preferred Care and Medica each combine a strong record of providing quality, affordable health care coverage to Floridians with solid relationships with physicians and other health care providers," Gail Boudreaux, CEO of UnitedHealthcare, said in a statement.

UnitedHealth, a Fortune 50 company with more than $102 billion in revenue last year, has acquired 85 companies since 2000.

Earlier this month is it closed a deal for XLHealth, a health plan for special-needs seniors, that is expected to add about $2 billion to revenues and 5 cents to net earnings per share in 2012. The company's fast-growing services arm, Optum, has bought doctors' groups and physician management operations in recent years.

Miami-based Preferred Care covers about 50,000 seniors on Medicare and about 5,000 low-income or disabled Floridians receiving Medicaid. As part of the deal, UnitedHealthcare also will take over operation of six primary care centers in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Medica, based in Coral Cables, Fla., has about 35,000 Medicare members and 7,200 Medicaid beneficiaries. It has two medical centers in Coral Gables and Hialeah, Fla.

The purchase is expected to be completed later this year.

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335

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