CVS Health's proposed purchase of Aetna will change the way many major U.S. corporations buy health coverage for employees and raise new questions over the cost of those benefits, benefit consultants said.
Most national companies employing more than 20,000 people keep their prescription drug benefits separate from medical coverage. They believe they are paying less by shopping those contracts around to competitors within each industry.
CVS and Aetna argue that their deal will lower healthcare costs for employees of their large corporate customers, giving the company greater clout to negotiate down drug prices and better manage the use of those medicines.
"It's the lower overall cost of therapy. It's not just the drugs. It's not just the PBM (prescription benefit manager). It's the overall outcome for the patient," Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told Reuters in an interview.