Dec 22, 2017

UnitedHealth Group adds to its global conquest

UnitedHealth Group has bought another South American company. Photo: Michael Nagle / Bloomberg via Getty

UnitedHealth Group is acquiring Empresas Banmédica, a company that runs medical clinics and sells health insurance in Chile, Colombia and Peru, for $2.8 billion. UnitedHealth already has a presence in South America — it bought Amil Participações, a large provider and health insurer in Brazil, in 2013.

Why it matters: UnitedHealth has become one of the largest companies in the U.S. by growing its insurance and data services businesses, and acquiring providers. But the conglomerate has had its eyes on privatized international health care markets for a long time. In 2016, Larry Renfro, the head of UnitedHealth's Optum companies, said health care data services could be a "$1 trillion global marketplace."

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

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Why it matters: It's the most money that has been spent this early on in an election cycle in U.S. history.

The growing coronavirus recession threat

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