DOJ Grants Preliminary Approval on CVS-Aetna Merger

The Department of Justice granted preliminary approval for CVS and Aetna to move forward with their $69 billion merger, signaling a potential change in how many American consumers access health care.

On September 27, Aetna announced their agreement to sell their Medicare Part D drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans to ease the path to the approval. Experts believed the overlap between CVS’s and Aetna’s Part D plans would be a cause for concern.

CVS first announced their intention to purchase Aetna in December 2017 in an effort to combine Aetna’s insurance business with CVS’s pharmacies.

The CEO of CVS stated that, together, they hope to create a model that is “easier to use, less expensive, and puts people at the center of their care.”

The general cost of health care has been skyrocketing and consumers feel the weight of increased prices. Companies like Amazon have jumped on the bandwagon of selling low-cost prescription drugs in an effort to have a positive financial impact on customers.

CVS and Aetna hope to lessen the burden for consumers by adding more services to MinuteClinics, such as treatments for non-critical illnesses, like a cough or the common cold. The hope is that that people will choose the clinics over going to the emergency room, which will benefit both CVS and the consumer due to the hefty cost of ER visits.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim was quoted saying, “The divestitures required here allow for the creation of an integrated pharmacy and health benefits company that has the potential to generate benefits by improving the quality and lowering the costs of the health care services that American consumers can obtain.”

The deal is predicted to fully close before the end of 2018.

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