A solid majority of respondents said vertical integration among providers is the consolidation trend that is most likely to accelerate this year.
Healthcare used to be a fairly decentralized sector of the economy with plenty of local doctors and hospitals. Large insurers such as UnitedHealth Group and Aetna are not new, but now they not just insurers. UnitedHealth Group owns Optum, an increasingly large “health services company,” and Aetna is part of CVS Health.
The Managed Healthcare Executive® State of the Industry survey asked which of the many consolidation trends in the sector is mostly to accelerate this year. A solid majority (58%) of the roughly 450 respondents picked vertical integration of provider organizations, such as hospitals and physician groups.
Only a small group (20%) indicated that they believed horizontal consolidation of provider organizations — hospitals combining with other hospitals, for example — would speed up this year. Even smaller groups of respondents (14% and 7%, respectively) picked horizonal and vertical consolidation of payers as likely to be speed up this year.