Optum scoops up Alere for $600 million

October 28, 2014 in Medical Technology

UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division kept its shopping spree alive by laying down $600 million to acquire Alere’s condition management and wellness subsidiaries, the companies said on Tuesday.

Specializing in infectious and cardiometabolic disease diagnostics, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based Alere is trying to reduce costs and sell “non-core assets” — such as the chronic condition management, smoking cessation and home-based obstetrical services Optum is buying — in an effort to “sharpen its strategic focus” on the global rapid diagnostics market.

For UnitedHealth and Optum, the acquisition is meant to bolster population health management and wellness offerings to other payers, employers and state health programs’ Optum gains the 200 regional health plans, 89 Fortune 500 employers and 22 million people Alere serves nationally.

“Alere Health’s expert team and proven health management solutions are a strong fit with our focus on empowering consumers to make more informed decisions, achieve healthier lifestyles and take greater ownership of their health,” said Optum CEO Larry Renfro in a media release.

Recently celebrating its 30th anniversary as a publicly-traded company, United is trying to maintain its position as the nation’s largest insurer with an expansion to 25 state insurance exchanges for 2015. It’s also trying to improve disease prevention and health delivery with information technology, and rationalize high spending with new payment methods, such as episode-of-care oncology reimbursement.

All of which has led to its string of acquisitions lately.

Earlier this fall, Optum announced intentions to purchase Irving, Texas-based MedSynergies, the maker of medical practice management, revenue cycle and referral management technology, for an undisclosed sum. And that came on the heels of a bet Optum made in February in taking a majority stake in Audax Health Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based maker of web- and mobile-based health risk assessment and engagement applications.

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/optum-scoops-alere-600-million

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