HEALTH PLANS: UnitedHealth keeps gobbling

United is buying Sierra Health Services, a regional HMO in Nevada for $2.6 billion. Sierra is a more traditional HMO than most of the health plans United’s bought in recent years (Golden Rule et al). The price is a modest 15% increase over Sierra’s current stock price, which last month was hit by the rather interesting news that it was taking a bath on its new Part D plan—mostly because a certain other plan (hint: it’s one of united’s big competitors) was shunting its sick people onto Sierra’s plan.

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