CVS–Aetna Merger Would Challenge UnitedHealth Group

The details remain murky about just what’s going on regarding a possible merger of CVS and Aetna, news of which broke last week, but experts say that such a corporate entity could challenge the sweet position occupied by UnitedHealth Group and its PBM affiliate OptumRX.

OptumRX is just one of the ways UnitedHealth diversifies its business and such diversification has made it a Wall Street darling, reports Kaiser Health News (KHN). Not only does Optum fill more than 100 million prescriptions a month, but UnitedHealth also owns 400 surgery centers and operates approximately 22,000 doctor practices.  

As KHN reports, news of the possible CVS–Aetna merger made many experts turn their attention toward Amazon. The giant online retailer’s been making noise lately about possibly jumping into the PBM business. Ana Gupte, a health care analyst at Leerink Partners, tells KHN that “people have gotten carried away with Amazon. CVS and Aetna is an Optum wannabe. UnitedHealth is the winning business model, and Optum is showing the way.”

Just how winning of a business model is UnitedHealth? The company is on course to make $200 billion in annual revenue this year. Profits for the first nine months of 2017 topped $7 billion.

Source: Kaiser Health News