Pharmacy company CVS Health is set to buy the health insurance giant Aetna. Not only will this potentially break the current record for the largest American health insurance in history, it could also dramatically change the way healthcare will be accessed for their customers.
The deal is worth a staggering $69 billion, or if you include Aetna’s debt, the total figure rises to $77 billion. It could “remake the consumer health care experience” according to Larry J. Merlo, the CVS health president and chief executive officer. He spoke out on this topic during a news release last Sunday.
What does the deal mean for the Aetna customers?
Having well over 9,700 pharmacy locations, CVS is an extremely large and powerful company with the power to impact and change things significantly. Currently they own more than 1,100 walk-in health care clinics all around the United States and offer everything from vaccinations, lab tests, health screenings and common illness or injury treatment. They also own Caremark, the pharmacy benefits manager and mail order pharmacy.
This means that customers may be able to deduce a shift in health care costs due to the merger of CVS and Aetna. Where they are actually going to be treated for emergency injuries could change too, as well as the number of times in which they make an appointment to your GP. The deal is subject to approval by majority shareholders and regulators and it’s expected to be completed within the second half of 2018.
What do the experts think?
An associate from the University’s Kellogg School of Management, Amanda Starc, weighed in her opinion. She was quoted saying “I think the important thing for customers to look out for going forward is how prices are likely to change… Everyone’s been concerned about rising drug prices, and the question is ‘Will a merger like this help slow that trend?” She says “I don’t think that we have a good sense of which way that’s likely to go.”
Amanda Starc ended her breif interview by saying that “your insurance company now cares not just what you’re spending on drugs but what you’re spending on overall medical utilization… It could be the case that they might design your benefits in a way that makes it cheaper for you to do things like fill your asthma drugs or your blood pressure medication, those types of drugs that are likely to keep you out of the hospital… That could be very beneficial for consumer health.”