Aetna, Coventry latest pairing to tap growing government health plan business

Aetna is the latest major Ohio health insurer to announce an acquisition to increase its Medicare and Medicaid business, saying Monday it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Coventry Health Care Inc.

The $7.3 billion deal between Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna and Bethesda, Md.-based Coventry will grow Aetna’s Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D business lines, as well as increase Aetna’s Medicaid base, according to the companies.

Aetna now has about 700,000 Ohio members.

“Integrating Coventry into Aetna will complement our strategy to expand our core insurance business, increase our presence in the fast-growing Government sector and expand our relationships with providers in local geographies,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna’s chairman, chief executive officer and president, in a statement with the release. “Coventry has distinct capabilities and a local market focus that will accelerate our efforts to bring simpler, more affordable products to consumer insurance exchanges in 2014 and beyond.”

The deal is subject to Coventry shareholder approval and is expected to close sometime next year.

This joins similar announcements from other major Ohio insurance companies this year. The parent company of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio said in July it will acquire managed care provider Amerigroup Corp. to better serve Medicaid participants. In March, Dayton-based CareSource said it will partner with Humana to serve low-income seniors dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

Earlier this month Aetna also named a new head of its Ohio and Kentucky markets, Nitin Bhargava.

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