UnitedHealth’s Surgery Center Play Could Pressure Hospitals On Prices

Increasingly, health insurers encourage their enrollees to consider an ambulatory surgery center for a procedure before a hospital . So it only makes sense UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest insurer, would prefer to pay for surgeries at its own lower-cost centers.

Surgical Care Affiliates “could provide a vehicle for UnitedHealth Group UNH +0.22% to more aggressively move surgical procedures away from the expensive hospital setting,” analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote Monday after United’s OptumCare unit agreed to buy Surgical Care for $2.3 billion.

When surgeries are done in a hospital, they are more expensive, and health insurers see inpatient procedures as a big share of total healthcare costs that needs to be reigned in, analyst say. “UnitedHealth is attacking surgeries, which are a very large portion of the healthcare spend,” the Barclays analyst team led by Joshua Raskin wrote Monday.



Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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