Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente has agreed to acquire a big insurer in Washington state and signaled the pursuit of similar deals across the country.
The nonprofit HMO and health system said Friday that it was buying Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative, which insures nearly 600,000 people. Because the deal involves two nonprofit organizations, Kaiser said it would contribute $1.8 billion to a new foundation in Washington to complete the transaction.
Analysts say Kaiser appears eager to take its unique model of integrated care to new markets as a consolidation wave ripples across the healthcare industry.
The Oakland company runs hospitals, physician groups and an HMO in eight states and the District of Columbia. But nearly 80% of its 10.2 million members are in California.