The fast-growing Optum unit of the nations largest health insuance company is escalating its interest in startup and innovative ventures, launching a $250 million fund to develop early-stage healthcare companies.Optum Ventures will be a venture fund focused on investing in startup and early-stage companies whose innovations will help advance the health care system, UnitedHealth and Optum executives announced at their investor conference in New York.Optum Ventures investments will include digital health firms that use data and insights to help improve consumers access to health care services and how care is delivered and paid for, and that make the health care system more reliable and easier to navigate.

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