Sep 27, 2018

Aetna to sell Medicare drug plans as part of CVS deal

Aetna has 2.2 million Medicare drug members. Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Aetna announced Thursday that it will sell its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans. Financial terms were not disclosed, although Aetna said in a disclosure that the purchase price was not material.

Why it matters: This divestiture is dependent on antitrust officials signing off on CVS Health's takeover of Aetna — meaning CVS and Aetna believe this sale will resolve any antitrust concerns and foreshadows imminent federal approval.

By the numbers: Aetna has 2.2 million members in standalone Medicare Part D drug plans. A combined CVS-Aetna would have more than 8 million Medicare drug members, or close to one-third of the market based on the latest federal data. The Part D overlap has been viewed as an antitrust concern since the deal was first announced.

  • While Aetna's divestiture likely leads to federal approval, consumer advocates say they are still worried about whether CVS will impede competition with its health insurance and pharmacy benefits management under one roof, and whether CVS will force other insurers to drive business toward its own retail stores and pharmacies.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,503,900 — Total deaths: 89,931 — Total recoveries: 340,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 432,579 — Total deaths: 14,830 — Total recoveries: 24,213Map.
  3. Business: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  4. Public health latest: Dr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  5. Travel update: TSA screened fewer than 100,000 people at airports in the U.S. on both Tuesday and Wednesday, compared to 2.2 million passengers on an average weekday a year ago.
  6. ☎️ Communication shift: Daily phone calls in the coronavirus era are outpacing Mother's Day.
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Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion amid coronavirus crisis

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at a press conference in March. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it will support the coronavirus-hit economy with up to $2.3 trillion in loans to businesses, state and city governments — made possible in part by Treasury funds set aside in the government stimulus package.

Why it matters: The Fed has taken more action amid the coronavirus outbreak than it has in any other financial crisis in U.S. history in an effort to blunt the effects of the resulting economic shutdown.

DetailsArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Senate Democrats block Republicans' $250 billion PPP injection

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Before the Paycheck Protection Program formally launched last Friday, we knew two things: The rollout would be rocky, and the initial $350 billion wouldn't be enough for America's small businesses.

The state of play: Banks and government officials have been working to smooth out the process. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) attempt to pump another $250 billion into the program via unanimous consent was blocked by Democrats, who are proposing an alternative that includes billions more for hospitals and states.