Well, it’s been about a year since CVS Health and Aetna announced their $69 billion plan to join forces and now it seems the state of New York, one of the last holdouts against the deal, has finally given the go-ahead. But there were some conditions including limits on health insurance premium increases as well as a promise to invest in insurance education and enrollment activities. And New York wasn’t the only state to set conditions on approval of the deal; California too required similar assurances from both companies before giving its approval earlier this month.
The benefits of the merger include an aligned and integrated approach for efficiencies to cut costs, gaining an offensive plan for market share as competitors ramp up their game (ahem, Amazon). CVS and Aetna have predicted that their merger will “transform the patient healthcare experience and deliver better care and coordination while saving costs for consumers.” However, antitrust experts and health economists aren’t so sure and many are still skeptical of the merger.
Don’t look now, but experts say Humana and Walgreens are now reportedly in talks to expand their “partnership.” So when the music stops, which insurer will be left without a pharmacy pairing partner? Hmmmm.
One interesting aspect of the CVS-Aetna merger is that CVS operates its Minute Clinics in many retail locations. Almost like an urgent-care “light,” these areas can provide vaccinations, do basic examinations and of course, prescribe medication which can be conveniently picked up in the store. And now with Aetna’s backing, will we start to see these Minute Clinics taking the place of general practitioner visits for the easier to treat conditions? Possibly.
Hey, the health insurance market is never dull and ruling your world means staying on top of all of this stuff so you can make the best possible decisions for YOUR company and YOUR employees. Of course, if you have any questions about your company’s Aetna plan and how this merger may affect you, my team of employee benefits and health insurance experts are always here to help!
CVS and Aetna expect to close merger on Wednesday