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Aetna is divesting its Medicare Part D plans to WellCare

The sale will be completed by the end of the year but is contingent upon the closing of its merger with CVS Health.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Aetna is divesting its entire standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans by the end of the year, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The business has about 2.2 million members. It does not affect Aetna's individual or group Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage Part D or Medicare supplemental products or plans.

The purchase price was not given. The SEC filing only said that the purchase price was not material to Aetna.

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WHY IT MATTERS

What is material to Aetna is that the divestiture is subject to the closing of its $69 billion acquisition by CVS Health.

Aetna said it believes the sale is a significant step toward completing the Department of Justice's review of the deal.

THE TREND

Earlier this month, the DOJ said it wanted Aetna and CVS Health to divest of some of its Part D assets to satisfy antitrust concerns before it would grant approval of the merger.

Aetna has a 9 percent market share among Part D plans while CVS Health has a 24 percent market share, with overlap in some markets.

ON THE RECORD

"Aetna and CVS Health continue to engage in productive discussions with the DOJ," according to the SEC filing.

Aetna's expectations of closing the deal remain unchanged, the insurer said. Previous expectations have been for the DOJ to approve the merger by the end of the year.

THEIR TAKE

We're doing what you've asked to make this deal happen.

OUR TAKE

Despite pockets of opposition from the American Medical Association, the California Insurance Commissioner and a New York Assemblyman, the deal appears headed toward approval. 

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com