UPDATE 1-U.S. Justice Dept expected to approve CVS deal for Aetna as soon as Wed - source

Wed - source@ (Adds background, context on expected approval)

WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is expected to approve drug retailer CVS Health Corp's

deal to buy health insurer Aetna Inc as soon as

Wednesday, a source familiar with the review said.

The approximately $69 billion CVS-Aetna deal would be the second large deal this year between insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, a consolidation the companies say will help rein in rising U.S. healthcare costs.

The U.S. Justice Department gave the green light to health insurer Cigna Corp's $52 billion acquisition of the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts Holding Co, on Sept. 17.

As part of what is widely expected to be a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Aetna said on Sept. 27 it would sell all of its standalone prescription drug plans for the government Medicare program for Americans aged 65 and older and the disabled to WellCare Health Plans Inc, paving the way for the deal's approval.

The companies have said they believe together they can improve customer health by offering more low-priced medical services in CVS's nationwide network of pharmacies, including providing chronic disease screenings and preventative care, such as blood sugar monitoring and vaccines. (Reporting by Diane Bartz and Caroline Humer Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)