What $8B buys Aetna with Signify

With CVS Health's agreement to purchase Signify Health for $8 billion, the line of payers and technology companies grabbing a piece of the home health market continues to grow.

"There is a race to the consumers' home, whether it's providing health at home, virtual care or primary and long-term care," Gurpreet Singh, a health services consultant at PwC, told Becker's. "The goal for most competitors is to 'own the home' or 'own the front door' to health delivery."

Signify currently has 50 health plan clients. Though the company's services will remain open for all payers to contract with, Aetna will benefit from an expanded value-based provider network in all 50 states and the ability to deliver better care to members at home — CVS also has about 9,700 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

"As a payer, we aim to be the partner of choice for all providers and health systems," Kyu Rhee, MD, chief medical officer at Aetna, told Becker's shortly before the Signify purchase was announced. "We already have trusted value-based care arrangements with providers where we're thinking about health outcomes, impact and improving access to primary care and home health." 

After Signify acquired the ACO Caravan Health in March, the company's network grew to include 10,000 primary care practices, more than 200 health systems and 100 federally qualified health centers, according to a report from Insider Intelligence  

Caravan also partners with 170 providers that participate in Medicare ACOs. In total, the company's ACOs are expected to represent 700,000 people by next year. In 2021 alone, Signify's ACOs saved the company more than $138 million.

In regard to delivering better care and reaching underserved Aetna members, Signify's clinicians boast spending two and half times longer with their patients compared to traditional primary care. The company is on track to connect with a total of 2.5 million members virtually and at home.

"If you’re looking at it from Aetna’s standpoint, this is a way to save big, big expenditures for their people they cover," Eric Topol, MD, molecular medicine professor at San Diego-based Scripps Research, told The New York Times.

Still, CVS is clear that all Signify customers and their members will benefit from all the services offered under the CVS Health umbrella.

"All Signify customers, and the members they serve, will benefit from a combined company," a CVS spokesperson told Becker's. "By utilizing CVS Health assets, including our community presence, Signify clinicians can better connect patients to care how and when they need it." 

The road ahead for the acquisition could still be difficult. A Federal Trade Commission probe is already threatening to delay Amazon's purchase of One Medical for $4 billion, and the agency has asked for additional information several times about UnitedHealth Group's plan to buy LHC Group for $5.4 billion.

"Those that excel will focus on easing the consumer experience," Mr. Singh said. "Today, 'primary care' is confusing for consumers, and there are many choices. Convenience, access and choice will be capabilities to win in this crowded space."

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