Humana is seeking to acquire more provider-owned health plans in 2009 if the opportunities are right, said Mike McCallister, chief executive officer of the health insurance company, at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
I would argue right now that we are the best buyer of hospital-owned health plans, McCallister told investors and analysts during a question-and-answer session at the conference.
The Louisville, Ky.-based health insurer has specific criteria when buying provider-owned health plans, McCallister said. For instance, technology systems must be somewhat robust and up to date.
I cant have a dozen broken-down old platforms, McCallister said. That would screw me up.
Last year, Humana purchased OSF Health Plans in Peoria, Ill., for $90.5 million, and Knoxville, Tenn.-based PHP Cos., which is doing business as Cariten Healthcare, for $245 million. Both were cash deals, and McCallister said that Humana is well-positioned to make further acquisitions. We wont sit on our cash, he said.