Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare announced long-term strategic partnerships this week with two large lab testing companies to develop “value-based programs” like those the health insurer has been pushing with hospitals and clinics.
With the new arrangements, New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics will become an in-network lab for more than 48 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare health plans starting next year, the companies said in a news release.
UnitedHealthcare on Thursday also said it had launched a long-term strategic partnership with North Carolina-based LabCorp, an announcement that also noted LabCorp’s status as an exclusive national laboratory provider would end on Jan. 1.
In both cases, United says it will collaborate with lab companies on programs that try to save money while improving patient outcomes by better coordinating care. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Lab data is quickly becoming the personalized road map that identifies the path to the next best action for individual patients,” said Dan Schumacher, the president and chief operating officer at UnitedHealthcare, in news releases announcing both partnerships.
In the announcement on the LabCorp relationship, Schumacher said: “The expansion of our relationship … will enable us to work together on even a broader scale.”
UnitedHealthcare, which is the nation’s largest health insurer, is the health plan business at UnitedHealth Group, which also operates a fast-growing division for health care services called Optum. Last year, UnitedHealth Group’s annual revenue broke the $200 billion mark.
With hospitals and clinics, UnitedHealthcare has developed “value-based care” arrangements that change the way the insurer pays for services from 1,100 hospitals and 110,000 physicians. The insurer says it wants to work with lab companies to use “real-time data sharing to help better anticipate people’s care options — and reducing gaps in care,” the companies said in news releases.
LabCorp had net revenue of over $10 billion in 2017, while Quest Diagnostics posted revenue of about $7.7 billion.
Earlier this year, UnitedHealth Group and Quest announced a collaboration with three other companies to explore whether blockchain technology could improve health care data.
The companies announced an agreement in 2016 in which about 2,400 workers at Quest Diagnostics were scheduled to become employees at UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division for health services. The partnership called for Optum to assist the lab company with issuing and collecting medical bills, while Quest Diagnostics would become Optum’s primary vendor for certain screening tests in employer health plans.