CVS Health has completed a merger agreement with Aetna Insurance. The merger, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company, includes the assumption of Aetna’s debt and has a total value of $77 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018.
The merger still needs approval by CVS Health and Aetna shareholders as well as federal regulatory approvals.
CVS officials see the transaction as filling “an unmet need in the current health care system and presents a unique opportunity to redefine access to high-quality care in lower cost, local settings whether in the community, at home or through digital tools. CVS Health has steadily become an integrated health care company, and Aetna has moved beyond being a traditional insurer to focus more on consumer well-being.”
CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo said, “This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health care experience. With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health’s human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals. We look forward to working with the talented people at Aetna to position the combined company as America’s front door to quality health care integrating more closely the work of doctors, pharmacists, other health care professionals and health benefits companies to create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers.”
“This is the next step in our journey positioning the combined company to dramatically further empower consumers. Together with CVS Health, we will better understand our members’ health goals, guide them through the health care system and help them achieve their best health,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO. “Aetna has a proud tradition of continually innovating to address unmet consumer needs and providing leading products and services to the marketplace.”
Officials of both companies believe the combined company will also be well positioned to more effectively meet the health needs of many more people, especially the 50 percent of Americans with chronic conditions that account for more than 80 percent of all health care costs.
CVS Pharmacy locations will include space for wellness, clinical and pharmacy services, vision, hearing, nutrition, beauty and medical equipment.
An entirely new health services offering available in many locations will function as a community-based health hub dedicated to connecting the pathways needed to improve health and answering patients’ questions about their health conditions, as well as prescription drugs and health coverage.
This personalized health care experience will be delivered by connecting Aetna’s extensive network of providers with greater consumer access through CVS Health.
This includes more than 9,700 CVS Pharmacy locations and 1,100 Minute Clinic walk-in clinics—as well as further extensions into the community through Omnicare’s senior pharmacy solutions, Coram’s infusion services, and the more than 4,000 CVS Health nursing professionals providing in-clinic and home-based care across the nation.
The combined entity will be able to help address the growing cost of treating chronic diseases. For example, patients with diabetes will receive care in between doctor visits through face-to-face counseling at a store-based health hub and remote monitoring of key indicators such as blood glucose levels. When needed, patients can receive text messages to let them know when their glucose levels deviate from normal ranges.
As a follow up, patients can receive counseling on medication adherence, pick up diabetes-related supplies and engage ancillary services such as counsel on weight loss and programs designed to reverse diabetes through nutrition. This will result in better control of their blood sugar levels and better health, which should be appreciated by both patients and their doctors.
“These types of interventions are things that the traditional health care system could be doing,” commented Merlo, “but the traditional health care system lacks the key elements of convenience and coordination that help to engage consumers in their health. That’s what the combination of CVS Health and Aetna will deliver.”
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies serving an estimated 44.6 million as of Sept. 30. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates.