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New year, new deals? Breaking down health plan, doctor alliances

California Healthline, January 5, 2012

Here's a one-time, two-line trend-spotting bonus for 2012: Out: Physicians and insurance companies as mortal enemies. In: Health insurers and physicians . . . as partners. Regular California Healthline readers know that several big payer-doctor deals were struck in 2011, disproportionately in the Golden State. UnitedHealth's Optum division acquired a handful of physician groups, most notably 2,300-member Irvine-based Monarch HealthCare. Other health plans teamed up with independent practice associations to launch accountable care organizations. Are these deals an industry blip or the beginning of a boom?