The merger of CVS Health, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy retailers, with third-largest health insurer Aetna has the potential to transform the health care system and raises concerns about the effect the merger could have on drug prices and competition. This would be the first time that a large pharmacy retailer gains control of one of the nation’s largest health insurers. CVS Health not only has 9,800 retail outlets in nearly every state (except Wyoming), but also 94 million members in pharmacy benefit manager CVS/Caremark. Continue reading
The proposed combination of one of the nation’s largest health insurers, Cigna Corp., and the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), Express Scripts Holdings Company, is unlikely to benefit consumers much, if at all. But to their credit, health care journalists are digging into how consumers might benefit from the deal.
These questions are important, given that the Cigna-Express Scripts deal follows an announcement three months earlier that CVS Health would pay $69 billion for Aetna Inc., another major health insurers, in a deal “that could reshape the health industry,” as the New York Times reported. Pharmacy retailer CVS Health also owns a PBM, CVS/Caremark. Continue reading
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates on Monday sided with the Department of Justice to block the merger of Aetna and Humana. The ruling is being called a victory for members of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, since Aetna and Humana — two of the nation’s largest health insurers would, as a combined company, have owned the biggest share of the Medicare Advantage market, The Wall Street Journal reported.
For journalists covering health insurance in their cities and states, there’s a story on how the merger would have affected competition in states where the two companies compete. Continue reading
Decisions by United Healthcare, Humana and now Aetna to shrink their footprint in the ACA exchanges – along with the collapse of the most of the co-ops – are likely to significantly decrease competition in some parts of the country next year.
Among the states likely to be most affected are: Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and probably parts of Florida. Continue reading
On the Center for Public Integrity’s PaperTrail blog, Peter Stone reports that five of biggest insurers in America are preparing to go to the mat for round two, this time with the intertwined goals of swinging midterm elections and influencing health reform implementation regulations.
According to Stone, Aetna, Humana, United HealthCare, WellPoint and (maybe) Cigna will pool something like $20 million. Look for the new lobbying organization, probably a 501(c) (4) nonprofit, in the next few months. Television ads and a variety of other campaigns will likely follow.