If you read here often enough then you know United has more subsidiaries than Carter has pills as the old saying goes.  I do these posts so people are aware when they spend their money today so they have an idea as to what big conglomerate benefits with profits to their bottom line.  The article states provided via Optum, which is a “tiered” subsidiary of United.  Back in October of 2011 we had this with seniors by way of claims/billings/contracts basically getting a free hearing aid if they signed up for a certain United Healthcare policy.

UnitedHealthCare Throws in Free Hearing Aids for Those Who Enroll In AARP Medicare Advantage, HMO & POS Plans in Miami-Dade County From Their New Subsidiary

The company distributing the hearing aids is a subsidiary United created to market and sell them, tiered subsidiaries again.  So if you sign up for a policy and buy a hearing aid they win twice if you will with getting more money from you. 

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

The devices come from China and by the way here’s another United subsidiary, a company in China working to promote Chinese drugs and devices worldwide to include the US.  I3 is a company owned by Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth's technology division and is located in Shanghai.  In 2011 i3 sold part of their clinical trials business (yes they were in that too) but kept ChinaGate. 

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

Many employer plans with United already offer the Chinese manufactured hearing aids as well.  Again especially today it’s interesting to know where your bottom line dollars go and to where shareholders benefit based on your purchases.  In other United news they are suing the city of Birmingham over a contract award and as we all know they sued DOD to get a chunk of the Tri-Care contract.  You know if those folks are not under contract with United, they can’t get access to the “cheap hearing aids” (grin). 

Who knows if this will be the next marketing push to get more folks to buy policies or will the company sign contracts with all the other major insurers to sell their hearing aids?  I’m sure they will run their business analytics to see which path will generate more money and profits before making such decisions.  If you go back to the out of network data base that Ingenix( now OptumInsights) had to short pay doctors and hospitals that went on for 15 years and ended in lawsuits, all the other insurers paid United to license it to increase their profits, so who knows. If the other insurers complain about a marketing edge here, well they cut them in right? An AMA subsidiary makes money selling software analytics developed by a United subsidiary too and the AMA were the ones who filed the class action suit against Ingenix so strange bed fellows at time and it all goes back to money.

We also have a subsidiary of United building the new federal data hub, as United bought the company two weeks after HHS awarded the contract so there’s a lot of buying up government contractors going on here too.  All of the tiered subsidiaries allows big conglomerate to “hide under the public radar today”. 

QSSI, Subsidiary of United Healthcare Building Federal Data Hub Gets Busted by the Inspector General Regarding USB Security And Compliance With Federal Requirements

So many think that all the health insurers are just focused on selling polices and that is not the case today as with subsidiaries there’s a lot more strategic mergers and acquisitions going on than you may be aware of.  We also do wonder about former HHS regulator, Steve Larsen leaving last year who was responsible for writing a big portion of the Healthcare law and he now has a big VP job at the Optum division of United.  Years ago this didn’t make a ton of difference but it does today with tiered subsidiaries as that’s where a lot of the action is taking place. 

Anyway, if you want to read more on subsidiaries just search for “subsidiary watch” here and here’s a group of United subsidiaries linked on a post I made recently.  They are everywhere and even some day might be one collecting your rent check as an example with their investments in middle and low income housing in New Mexico.  In addition, there’s the ever growing purchase or acquisition of physicians and surgical groups across the US, latest being Beach Surgical Holdings, another new subsidiary that has been created under the umbrella of the non profit Memorial Care Foundation which is a physicians group they purchased a while back.  BD 

Health Insurance Business Under the Radar With Tiered Subsidiaries–Where All the Action Takes Place With Mergers, Acquisitions and Profit Centers-Subsidiary Watch

High-tech, custom-programmed hearing aids are now available at affordable prices – starting at just $649 each – to people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare vision benefit plans, including employer-sponsored and individual policies.

Hearing aids can often cost thousands of dollars, but UnitedHealthcare’s new discount program enables its vision plan participants to save hundreds of dollars on hearing aids by purchasing them for as low as $649 each*. The discount program already has been available to people enrolled in many UnitedHealthcare medical plans, including employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage plans, as well as Medicare Part D plans. Some UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan customers pay no out-of-pocket costs for the hearing aids.



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