UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare acquisition: DOJ, states end appeal

The Justice Department and two states have ended their legal effort to block UnitedHealth Group’s $13 billion purchase of technology company Change Healthcare. 

The agency and attorneys general in New York and Minnesota on Monday filed paperwork in the Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia to voluntarily dismiss their appeal. The document did not disclose why the agencies and attorneys general abandoned their call for a review of Judge Carl Nichols’ ruling, which he handed down in the District Court for the District of Columbia last September. 

UnitedHealth finalized its merger of the technology company in October, and spent $100 million to integrate Change Healthcare into its OptumInsight revenue cycle management arm. UnitedHealth also sold Change Healthcare’s claims processing arm to a private equity firm for $2.2 billion in September, as required by Nichols’ ruling. 

The Justice Department and states attorneys general did not immediately respond to interview requests Tuesday. UnitedHealth and Change Healthcare separately said they had nothing to share to share because the transaction was completed. 

The Justice Department and attorneys general had alleged the merger would violate antitrust law by giving the insurer UnitedHealthcare insight into how rival carriers structure their clinical networks. They appealed Nichols’ decision in November without disclosing the grounds for their appeal.

The healthcare giant paid $7.8 billion in cash and assumed $5 billion of Change Healthcare’s debt. UnitedHealth expects Change Healthcare to add $800 million in revenue to OptumInsight this year. 

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