UnitedHealth Group acquired Glendale, Calif.-based HealthAllies, Inc. on
Oct. 1 for an undisclosed sum, as part of its ongoing effort to capture
more individual insurance enrollees. The move follows UnitedHealth's decision
last month to purchase Golden Rule Financial Corp. (MCW 9/22/03, p. 1),
a major player in the individual insurance market.
Inside Consumer-Directed Care, also published by Atlantic Information
Services, Inc., obtained a client memo from HealthAllies describing the
acquisition's objectives. UnitedHealth officials did not return phone
calls seeking comment on the deal.
The HealthAllies purchase will give UnitedHealth access to its innovative
consumer-driven platform, which enables members to purchase health services
at the time of the episode of care, and take advantage of discounted provider
HealthAllies has a variety of benefit plans available to customers enrolled
in group-health programs who wish to obtain discounts on services that
are not covered or for which only a low level of coverage is available.
Products also are available for customers who have "skinny"
benefit plans or are uninsured. Members can compare providers' prices,
locations and credentials online, and then lock in rates while they obtain
The company uses a variety of distribution channels, including brokers,
direct sales via its own Web site, and marketing arrangements with other
insurers, including UnitedHealth and American International Group, Inc.,
HealthAllies has grown quickly, expanding from 100,000 enrollees in October
2002 to 300,000 members today. The company also serves corporate clients
such as Pitney Bowes Inc. and Burger King Brands, Inc., as well as insurers
that are competitors of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health
insurer. As a subsidiary of United-Health, HealthAllies will continue
to serve these companies and provide services on a private-label basis
to intermediaries, says HealthAllies President Andrew Slavitt.
For HealthAllies, the deal brings the company the ability to develop
a suite of ancillary benefits, more flexible benefit designs and insured
products and institute better control over its provider network. "I
anticipate ... [that] the merger and other trends will cause more growth
in '04," Slavitt says.
Call HealthAllies at (877) 426-2559.