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It seems that merger mania has taken hold of the health care industry. With talks between Cigna and Express Scripts and CVS Health and Aetna Inc., among others, consolidation has gotten the attention of many stakeholders. While these companies justify their unions by highlighting the efficiencies they will gain and the improvements that employers, other health care purchasers and their covered populations will experience, purchasers should remain skeptical.

Related: How broker consolidation and industry alliances are changing the industry

Mergers and acquisitions in health care have occurred for decades. Provider organizations have been merging with or acquiring others for years, and so have health plans. What feels new lately is consolidation among health care entities with different types of businesses. Unfortunately, the evidence about the impact of past consolidation on purchasers is mixed and should raise questions for purchasers about more recent unions.

 

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