Why the CVS-Aetna deal could push Walmart to buy Humana

CVS Health has inked a definitive merger agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Aetna for roughly $69 billion in cash and stock, and the deal may lead other healthcare industry players to join forces.

Ana Gupte, PhD, a senior healthcare services analyst at Leerink Partners, told CNBC she could see Walmart and health insurer Humana joining forces to compete in the shifting healthcare landscape.

"Humana and Walmart have been in a very tight relationship for six, seven years," she said, and Humana members already receive deals on prescription copays at Walmart pharmacies. Increasing competition and the threats posed by CVS' deal with Aetna may be enough to push Walmart to consider buying Humana, according to the report.

Anthem, Cigna and Walgreens may also be among the healthcare companies interested in striking a deal, according to Dr. Gupte.

More articles on payer issues:

Anthem joins Colorado's Medicaid alliance
New Jersey hospital files motion against Horizon BCBS over tier placement
Lyft makes nearly 15k medical transports for Cigna members

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