Payer-provider M&A roundup: The biggest deals of 2011


A clear trend has emerged during the past 12 months: Mergers and acquisitions between payers and providers are increasing, blurring the lines between the traditionally opposing sides of healthcare. Although payers and providers have frequently battled each other about quality of care versus cost-effective care, it seems that mergers between an insurer and a hospital or physician network are catching on. Together, payers and providers are partnering and aligning incentives to lower costs while still providing quality care, thereby avoiding unnecessary care in the future. Essentially, payers want to increase efficiency of care by integrating their payment system with providers' delivery system.

Insurers did most of the buying this year with the exception of one large hospital system in Massachusetts, which is acquiring a health plan. Only time will tell whether these mergers and acquisitions will enhance care or promote conflicts of interest. To find out more, read on for the biggest payer-provider deals this year.