Why Anthem doesn't want to own physician practices

As major health insurance companies are getting into the business of owning primary care practices, Anthem is pursuing a different strategy, according to Business Insider.

UnitedHealth, the top health insurer in the US and Anthem's biggest rival, is pushing further into providing medical care. In the past year, Optum, the health services arm of UnitedHealth, has added 10,000 physicians, growing its network to 46,000 physicians.

Anthem is taking a different path than its rival. The company is working closely with health systems and physicians, but doesn't want to own physician practices, President and CEO Gail Boudreaux said at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Dec. 4, according to Business Insider.

"We've been pretty clear that we don't think we need to own primary care," she said. "Quite frankly, I don't believe that by changing ownership we'll be more effective at managing primary care."

Instead of owning provider organizations, Ms. Boudreaux said Anthem is focused on being a good partner for hospitals, health systems and physician practices. She highlighted several partnerships Anthem has entered into with Cleveland Clinic and other healthcare providers that focus on keeping members healthier.

"I don't think we have to do it all," she said, according to Business Insider. "We want to keep practices independent. That's our goal."

More articles on strategy:

Best Buy's healthcare strategy: Get insurers to pay
Kroger plans to partner with more hospitals
Walmart hires executive to help expand healthcare business

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