What Does the CVS/Aetna Merger Mean for Your Health Care?
We’ve been hearing rumblings about this merger for quite some time and it has finally happened. CVS Health announced that it plans to acquire Aetna, one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies that serves about 44 million people.
Assuming this is approved by shareholders and gets the green light from the government, this has the potential to reshape the entire health care industry.
CVS Health President and CEO Larry J. Merlo said in a press release that he is looking forward to bringing the work of doctors, pharmacists, other health care professionals and health benefit companies together.
What does this mean for health care prices and the consumer? There are still many unknowns. If you are insured by Aetna, does this mean you can only have prescriptions filled at your local CVS? Will prices increase? Or will everything stay the same? The latter seems least likely, of course.
Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini has given his reassurance that the two companies would not raise prices for consumers.
This all happens to be playing out in one of the most uncertain times in health care. As provisions of the Affordable Care Act are in limbo, there are also conversations being held on tax cuts that could affect out-of-pocket spending on insurance, drugs and medical care.
As CVS and Aetna work to expand the services offered at their pharmacies and clinics, this could mean decreased traffic at hospitals and primary care providers. CVS looks to be making a strong case for increased preventative health care, especially after its move to stop selling tobacco products in its stores.
We’re keeping our eyes on this merger. It should be completed in the second half of 2018.
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