HR Administration

Consolidation Continues: Aetna Plans to Acquire Humana in $37 Billion Deal

By Rick Bell

Jul. 3, 2015

The consolidation frenzy among major health care insurers continued July 3 when Aetna Inc. announced its intent to acquire Humana Inc. for $37 billion.
 
The deal, which must go through federal compliance regulations, follows on the heels of the July 2 announcement that health insurer Centene Corp. will buy smaller rival Health Net for $6.3 billion and the June 30 deal between Willis Holdings Corp. and Towers Watson & Co. for $18 billion.
 
All three announcements come days after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold subsidies for individuals under the Affordable Care Act. The deals also underscore the industry’s rush to grow in order to attract new customers as well as negotiate better deals with suppliers and hospitals.
 
Humana has been rumored as an acquisition target for some time now, as several large insurers jockeyed for the Louisville, Kentucky-based for-profit health insurance company. There are other deals that may be in the works, too. Anthem Inc. is said to be interested in acquiring Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group is rumored to be interested in buying Aetna, Humana or the combined companies.
 
“I am not deeply involved in the insurer space," said Mike Psenka, senior vice president of workforce analytics at Equifax Workforce Solutions. "However, it looks like the potential consolidation in the industry is going to give anti-trust regulators fits in the coming months. We are also herding enrollees under one umbrella, which might conversely be interesting to the government.
 
“This combination will allow us to continue to invest in excellent service for our members and strengthen our partnerships with providers to deliver high quality care at an affordable price,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna's chairman and CEO, in a written statement.
Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email editors@workforce.com.

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