It’s official: CVS Health announced Sunday it would be purchasing health insurer Aetna Inc. for $69 billion.
The companies say this deal will mean cheaper health care costs for their corporate customer employees, in addition to allowing the company to talk down drug prices and effectively manage how those medicines are used. The deal should close the second half of next year, according to CVS, though that’s pending regulatory scrutiny and a shareholder vote. U.S. News and the Aetna Foundation – the independent charitable and philanthropic part of Aetna – recently partnered to launch the Healthiest Communitiesproject.
Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini sidestepped a question surrounding a potential merger with “a pharmacy giant” at the U.S. News Healthcare of Tomorrow conference last month, saying that he wouldn’t comment on market speculation or rumors.
But he did address the future of his company, with an eye for more convenient health caredelivery. He suggested patients could receive infusions, dialysis and other medical services at retailers like Walmart, Walgreens (and yes, CVS) or even in their own home.
“Companies don’t disrupt industries,” Bertolini said at the time. “If I were to say, ‘Who disrupted retail?’ You’d say Amazon. Or, ‘Who has disrupted mobile technology?’ Well, it was Apple. That’s not true. … The only way that industries get disrupted is when you build a compelling customer experience and service offering that they want to use over and over and over again. Then they disrupt the industry. Us, as consumers, disrupt the industry.”
Citigroup analyst Alvin Concepcion said of the deal in October: “We see this potential deal as both evolutionary and revolutionary given the dynamic health care environment and push toward consumerism coupled with a challenged retail backdrop and the need to combat a looming Amazon threat.”