CVS Health is cutting 5,000 jobs. Its effect on Aetna is unclear

CVS Health confirmed Aug. 1 that it is eliminating 5,000 "non-customer-facing positions" across the company, but it has not specified where the cuts will occur, including at Aetna, the payer it acquired in 2018. 

"At this time, we don't have a breakout of job impacts to share, but this decision applies nationally across the company to primarily corporate positions," a CVS Health spokesperson said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We employ more than 300,000 people in the U.S."

When Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health acquired Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, its agreement with state insurance regulators included a promise to keep employment levels at Aetna and its subsidiaries at 5,300 for at least four years after the closure of the deal, the Hartford Courant reported Aug. 1. The employment levels reflected staffing as of Oct. 1, 2018, and the agreement expired in 2022.  

CVS cut what it called a "very small percentage" of jobs in Hartford in 2020, according to the report. 

Though specifics of the latest cuts have not been unveiled, the decision was criticized by a pair of federal lawmakers from Connecticut. 

"The layoffs announced today at CVS are more evidence that the recent massive consolidations in the healthcare industry are bad for both workers and consumers," Sen. Chris Murphy said in an Aug. 1 statement.  

Rep. John Larson said in an Aug. 1 statement that it is "disappointing to see five years after the merger of CVS Health and Aetna, the company is making significant layoffs, and it raises questions about the impact large corporate mergers are having on employees, shareholders and the public.

"Aetna CVS Health employs thousands of workers in our state, and we must ensure they can continue to support their families." 

The CVS spokesperson told Becker's the company does not anticipate the cuts will affect its clients and customers. 

"Throughout our company’s history, we've continuously adapted to market dynamics to lead the industry," the spokesperson said. "The difficult decision we are making will set the company up for long-term success."

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