A combined CVS and Aetna digital platform could reach 65 million consumers

CVS Health Inc. has made it official—it will now acquire health insurer Aetna Inc. in a deal valued at $77 billion.

When complete, pending approval and review by the U.S. Department of Justice and the boards of directors each company, the combined CVS/Aetna organization would create one of the industry’s biggest digital and mobile healthcare platforms aimed at the consumer healthcare.

“This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health care experience,” says CVS CEO Larry J. Merlo. “With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health’s human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals.”

The new digital healthcare platform of the combined companies would include:

  • A consumer base of 65 million patients
  • 1 billion automated calls and texts delivered to patients annually
  • E-mail volume of 55 million messages
  • More than 48 million patients enrolled in text message program
  • A digital prescription program that that gets half of prescription refill orders from mobile consumers.
This transaction fills an unmet need in the current health care system and presents a unique opportunity to redefine access to high‐quality care in lower cost, local settings—whether in the community, at home, or through digital tools.

About 14.5 million consumers have downloaded Aetna’s main app, which enables users to search for a doctor, dentist, or a facility, such as an urgent care center or walk-in clinic. Users also can log into a section of the portal to view claims, coverage and benefits, personal health records and identification card information.

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50,000 Aetna employees have enrolled in its company wellness reimbursement program and will be offered  an Apple watch for free, enabling them to download and utilize a series of new health and wellness apps.

“This transaction fills an unmet need in the current health care system and presents a unique opportunity to redefine access to high‐quality care in lower cost, local settings—whether in the community, at home, or through digital tools,” CVS says.

CVS says the combined healthcare company will have a base that includes more than 30,000 clinical professionals and over 5,200 nurses and over 300 doctors that will serve Aetna’s 22.2 million plan members.

The combined entity will be able to help address the growing cost of treating chronic diseases, CVS says. For example, there are 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes, costing the health care system approximately $245 billion annually. Patients with diabetes will receive care in between doctor visits through face‐to‐face counseling at a store‐based health hub and remote monitoring of key indicators such as blood glucose levels, CVS says. When needed, patients can receive text messages to let them know when their glucose levels deviate from normal ranges, CVS says.

“These types of interventions are things that the traditional healthcare system could be doing but the traditional healthcare system lacks the key elements of convenience and coordination that help to engage consumers in their health,” Melo says.

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Under the terms of the deal, Aetna will function as a separate subsidiary with Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini remaining as CEO. “Our combined company will be more competitive in the marketplace,” Bertolini says.

The deal is expected to close by the middle of next year. CVS pay will $69 billion Aetna and assume about $8 billion of the carrier’s debt.

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