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UnitedHealthcare expands Medicare Advantage footprint in Louisiana

Insurer is acquiring Peoples Health in a Medicare Advantage market that is growing and competitive.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

UnitedHealthcare is expanding its Medicare Advantage product offering in Louisiana by acquiring Peoples Health in that state.

"Our joining together will lead to an expanded choice of affordable plan options for Louisiana seniors and build on Peoples Health's high-touch, personalized approach to taking care of members," UnitedHealthcare said by statement.

UnitedHealthcare said it hoped to close on the transaction as soon as possible, pending required regulatory approvals.

The insurer did not release the financial terms of the deal but said nothing will change for either the employees of Peoples Health or its consumers. Peoples Health's leadership will remain in their current roles, UnitedHealthcare said.

Also for 2018, nothing will change about Peoples Health Medicare Advantage plans, including the plan names, benefits and provider network.

Peoples Health is an HMO with about 63,000 Medicare consumers.

The nation's largest insurer already serves more than 876,000 consumers in Louisiana through its Medicare, Medicaid and employer-sponsored plans.

Medicare Advantage continues to be a growing market, with enrollment increasing by more than 10 percent year-over-year, UnitedHealthcare executives said during their first quarter earnings report in April. MA membership is expected to increase from a current 33 percent of seniors to over 50 percent in the next 5 to 10 years, they said.

The MA market is also competitive, as insurers see the growth in both the number of baby boomers retiring timed with the transition to value-based care.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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