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United Healthcare Opens Retail “Employer Benefits” Store in Queens New York And Hires Former Minnesota US Assistant

Posted Nov 02 2011 7:52pm

One thing I can say for sure with the daisy chain of subsidiaries the company has going today with assorted Health IT and other companies, no wonder they needed an expert in the legal area here. I thought with such a large mixture of different types of companies that they had to have some good anti trust attorneys on staff as this stuff gets very complicated today when you look at potential conflicts of interest and having sufficient competition in various business markets. 

You almost can’t find any entity of healthcare not providing a few pennies to United’s bottom line, even the VA with Picis who was doing business before the acquisition now contributes to the United bottom line.  That is just one example.  The General counsel announcement was made today at the website called “Main Justice”.   They have this big lawsuit against Tri-Care ongoing so I don’t know if this will be in the area of general counsel for him to handle.

Update: UnitedHealthcare Sues Department of Defense Over Tri-Care Contracts–They Said They Would Do This – Is This A Case Of My Algorithms Are Better Than Yours?

One example of diversity is the purchase of HMOs and IPA groups and we had one big acquisition in the OC from United a short while back.  Crying towels were out as all kind of suspect that this may mean lower compensation for MDs but time will tell as things move forward and I would guess this is about 20% of the HMO business in Orange County.  Don’t quote me but that is a guess only as Monarch is huge.

In addition with so many various entities owned under one conglomerate we now have one division that could cut compensation and then rush in with another division let’s say in the IT area to sell analytics solutions to help them keep what business they have.

Subsidiary Watch-Corporate Conglomerate Insurers Reduce Compensation Contracts Using One Subsidiary Then Market Same MDs With Another Subsidiary in Health IT

For some of those analytics entities they own patents too on the software and when we hear patents well we all think cost today. 

QualityMetric/Ingenix (United HealthCare) Receives Patent for Patient Health Survey Algorithms-Subsidiary Watch

Pharmacists at Walgreens in some areas can benefit from pay for performance effort with signing consumers up to the YMCA and perhaps other programs under the partnership.  Perhaps will we be seeing more “retail” locations in other areas soon? 

UnitedHealth, YMCA Expand Diabetes Prevention Program with P4P for Walgreens

At any rate you can read the full details who knows maybe those “cheap” hearing aids will make their way into the stores along with branch locations for their bank for HSA accounts? 

UnitedHealth Group Owns a Bank With Deposits Surpassing a Billion – OptumHealth Bank FDIC Insured

In some areas if you sign up for one of the United insurance programs, you basically get a hearing aid for free, which is distributed through yet one of more of their subsidiaries with being a zero co-pay. 

They are offering an online hearing test which may or may not be the best thing but it’s there. For United customers with Medicare Managed care and drug plans there will be no out of pocket expense and of course when taking a hearing test on line all that is documented and stored so the company can store it and use to tune the device. HiHealthInnovations is a newly formed subsidiary.

United HealthCare Gets In the Medical Device Business–Distributing Cheap Hearing Aides Sold Via Hi HealthInnovations Division –Subsidiary Watch

The hearing aids eventually are designated to show up at WalMart at some point in time to be purchased there as well.  I believe some of the action started here with buying China Gate which works to bring more Chinese drugs and medical devices to the US and world wide and already has a line of communication with the FDA. 

UnitedHealth subsidiary (Ingenix Subsidiary I3) Acquires ChinaGate – Working to Sell Chinese Products Globally

If you are not under their plan the device cost will have a co-pay of $649.  This is interesting as I image wonder how this works with other insurers as well because every time one is sold outside of the United clients they make money.  They make money all the way around with being a supplier on who ever gets one, plus they have full control of their reimbursement. 

Here’s the division of United that was at AdvaMed this year looking to partner with companies needing to bring a drug or device to market so you can see in just the few short paragraphs here, theoretically  the company could handle everything from initiating a filing with the FDA all the way down to what the doctor gets reimbursed for prescribing…sound like some kind of price controls?  You be the judge. 

So in summary is this why the new General Counsel is there?  It’s just a question to ponder and wonder about with all the diversity happening here and competition with other companies too.  Perhaps soon they will have all of their products in retail stores to cover everything from buying a policy to getting a hearing aid before you walk out the door from the consumer side.  From the business side, how do or will other companies compete?  Will they be buying up small biotechs and device companies next as they already put the new subsidiary in place for hearing aids so what’s next?  BD 

NEW YORK--( EON: Enhanced Online News )--UnitedHealthcare today opened its first comprehensive health benefits store in the nation at 136-02 Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing.

With a focus on serving the Asian-American community, the new UnitedHealthcare Asian Plaza in Queens will provide residents with information and customer service on a variety of UnitedHealthcare benefits programs as well as health and wellness services and free public health education programs.

The 16,000-square-foot consumer-support center gives UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored, Medicare, Medicaid and individual health plan participants access to customer service professionals who can answer questions in their native language about health care benefits, assist in resolving claims issues, and help with other health insurance-related matters.

Computers and iPads are available for visitors’ use to obtain and print health-related information, and a “health screening kiosk” measures blood pressure, pulse and body mass index (BMI) – all important indicators that help people better understand their health status. UnitedHealthcare also will host an ongoing series of education seminars, which are free to the public. Topics include nutrition and exercise, disease management and financial planning.

In 2009 UnitedHealthcare opened its Alhambra, Calif., storefront to serve as a trusted one-stop shop for culturally and linguistically appropriate health care information and services for Chinese-American Medicare beneficiaries in the community.  Most recently, the company opened a walk-in center for Long Island Medicaid members in Hempstead, N.Y., as well as a temporary pop-up store in Kingston, Tenn., to help eligible individuals select Medicare health care benefits during the annual enrollment period, which ends Dec. 7.


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