CVS has cleared the biggest hurdle in its plan to acquire Hartford-based health insurer Aetna. The deal was given the green light Wednesday by federal anti-trust regulators.
The Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain and the nation’s third largest health insurer say by combining, they can drive down costs and make patient’s health care experience simpler.
Karen Lynch, Aetna’s president, spoke about their vision at a recent hearing before the Connecticut Insurance Department.
“Quite frankly the status quo in health care is not working," she said. "We have an incredibly fragmented, siloed system, that is too expensive, and much too complicated to navigate through.”
Today’s signoff by the federal Department of Justice is conditional on the sale of Aetna’s Medicare prescription drug plan business - something the company had already agreed to.
But the deal is not without its critics. The American Medical Association has called for it to be blocked, saying it will lessen competition and potentially drive up prices.
The acquisition must still be approved by several state regulators, including in Connecticut.
Last week, CVS agreed to keep Aetna’s headquarters in Hartford for 10 years, and keep its Connecticut workforce stable for at least four years, as a pre-condition of approval.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies including Rhode Island Public Radio, coming together to tell stories of a changing region.