CVS Is Buying One Of The Largest Health Insurance Companies In A Deal That Could Change Health Care In The US

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Pharmacy giant CVS has the potential to disrupt the health care market after antitrust officials gave CVS the go-ahead Wednesday to buy health insurance company Aetna, author and health care consultant Rita Numerof told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The merger can accelerate the efforts to change the fundamental business model of health care,” Numerof told TheDCNF via telephone. “It’s very attractive to employers  who might want to sign up with Aetna.”

Many Americans already stop by the MinuteClinics in many CVS locations to get flu shots or treatment for minor illnesses. The ubiquitous pharmacy chain wants to expand the types of health care it offers after purchasing Aetna, which is the third-largest health insurance company in the U.S., according to The Washington Post.

“Our focus will be at the local and community level, taking advantage of our thousands of locations and touchpoints throughout the country to intervene with consumers to help predict and prevent potential health problems before they occur,” CVS chief executive Larry Merlo said according to WaPo.

CVS and Aetna had to sell Aetna’s Medicare Part D prescription drug business to get the deal approved by the Department of Justice. CVS had announced its intention to purchase Aetna for nearly $70 billion in December 2017.

CVS is also getting Aetna members’ data in the deal. The health insurer has over 22 million medical members, reported WaPo. CVS has nearly 10,000 retail locations. (RELATED: Senate Democrats Think They Have A ‘Gotcha’ Moment For Republicans On Health Care Ahead Of Midterms)

CVS’s “retail pharmacy business” already serves 5 million customers per day, according to WaPo. The Aetna deal could give CVS “more leverage in its negotiations with drugmakers over drug prices,” reported WaPo.

“It will be interesting as we look at the potential role of CVS’s large and growing clinical services footprint, which they’ve invested in for many years,” Numerof told TheDCNF. “Aetna can steer patients to CVS pharmacies and their MinuteClinics.”

Numerof is the co-author with Michael Abrams of the 2016 book “Bringing Value to Healthcare: Practical Steps for Getting to a Market-Based Model.” Numerof and Abrams co-founded health care consulting firm Numerof and Associates.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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