The Medical Society of New Jersey has at least temporarily reversed completion of UnitedHealth Group's $4.9 billion acquisition of Oxford Health Plans, officials at the 8,500-physician organization said.
The merger was finalized last week after receiving all necessary approvals from state and federal regulators, including New Jersey Commissioner of Banking and Insurance Holly Bakke. But following a court appeal by the medical society, a Mercer County Superior Court judge stayed Bakke's approval and granted a new trial to decide whether the merger should be allowed to proceed.
"As of this moment, the companies are not merged," Michael Kornett, the medical society's executive director and chief executive officer, told Modern Healthcare Monday afternoon.
Kornett contends that Bakke signed off on the merger without properly evaluating evidence submitted by the medical society showing that the deal would harm policyholders and providers.
Officials at UnitedHealth and Oxford could not be reached for comment.
Kornett said that although the companies would likely have the stay lifted within a few days, they would still have to submit to a full trial, which could take several months to complete.
No trial date has been set.