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CVS Health and Aetna will close $69 billion merger



CVS Health CEOCVS Health President and CEO Larry J. MerloReuters

  • CVS Health said its deal to acquire health insurer Aetna is set to be completed by Wednesday.
  • The deal, announced in December 2017, forms a new kind of healthcare company that includes the largest retail pharmacy in the US as well as one of the largest insurance companies. 
  • The combined company is already shaping to change the healthcare system as we know it. 

Almost a year after it was announced, CVS Health is set to close on its deal to acquire health insurer Aetna.

The two companies got the go-ahead from the Department of Justice for their $69 billion deal in October, but still needed key state insurance agencies to sign off. The companies said on Monday morning that they’d received approval from all regulators, and expect to complete the transaction by Wednesday.

The deal will redraw the healthcare industry.

Read more: 2 massive healthcare deals just got approved by the DOJ — and they’ll change healthcare as we know it

In CVS and Aetna’s case, the deal creates a new type of company that includes a health insurer, a retail pharmacy, and a company that negotiates prescription drug prices with drugmakers called a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM). As part of the agreement with the DOJ, CVS and Aetna have to divest Aetna’s Medicare Part D prescription-drug-plan business.

The boundaries of the healthcare business are changing. Instead of growing by acquiring other companies in the same business, companies have started to move into new lines of business, with no two combinations looking exactly the same.

It’s part of a push by healthcare companies to both cut costs and gain more control over the patients in need of their services. It’s coming as large tech companies seek ways to disrupt the healthcare industry as it faces new medications that challenge the way we pay for treatments.

Already, CVS is getting creative in how it manages consumers health. CVS said in its earnings in November that it plans to expand the health services offered at its pharmacies so that it can manage more chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. 

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