Connecticut Takes A Look At Aetna's New Future

Dec 5, 2017
Originally published on December 4, 2017 10:24 pm

Connecticut is calculating the potential impact of the new mega-merger announced by health insurer Aetna and pharmacy chain CVS. 

Aetna, which has been Hartford based for more than 160 years, announced in June that it would move its headquarters staff to Manhattan.

Now it’s injected even more uncertainty into the mix with a $69 billion dollar takeover by Rhode Island-based CVS.

Aetna employs around 6,000 people in Connecticut.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin told WNPR he wants to look at the deal as an opportunity to build a strong relationship with what will be a global health care company.

“Aetna and CVS are, for the most part, not in the same type of business right now. So, you might see a little bit less of that reduction in force than you would if you had two companies where there’s a whole lot of redundancy,” he said.

State and federal regulators must approve the deal.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal believes anti-trust officials are likely to be favorable because the two have little overlap.

But he himself will be asking other questions. “I want to make sure that the number of jobs here is sustained, that this merger is not an excuse to move jobs in massive numbers out of the state of Connecticut,” he said.

Aetna spokesman TJ Crawford issued a statement to WNPR, saying "the Aetna-CVS transaction is based on expansion, not contraction. Aetna will operate as a separate business unit within CVS Health, and the work of Aetna’s employees will be needed to fulfill the vision of the combined company. In the months ahead, we’ll develop integration plans that will affect certain positions, but no decisions have been made at this point."

Kenneth Gorosko teaches economics at the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford. He believes this is a long-term strategy.

"You’re not going to see huge benefits upfront," he said. "This is going to take time. But the opportunities for both companies to expand their product line as well as their capabilities and their services to their customers I think could be significant."

One other big change on the horizon - CEO Mark Bertolini will no longer head up Aetna’s day to day operations - instead he’ll take a seat on the board of the combined company.

Copyright 2017 WNPR News. To see more, visit WNPR News.