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How will consumers fare if CVS and Aetna merge?

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The merger of CVS Health and Aetna would combine one of the country's biggest pharmacies with one of its largest health insurers. Executives at the firms say it will create a world where patients will get the "human touch," and that getting high-quality, low-cost medical care will be as close as your community pharmacy.

The merger of CVS Health and Aetna would combine one of the country's biggest pharmacies with one of its largest health insurers. Executives at the firms say it will create a world where patients will get the "human touch," and that getting high-quality, low-cost medical care will be as close as your community pharmacy. "It's not going to immediately shake up the world, but I think you have two behemoths—two battleships that are slow to turn—and it will at least create an environment by which information can be shared and innovation can take place," says Nadina Rosier, the health and group benefits pharmacy practice leader at the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. Skeptics say CVS and Aetna entered into the deal not to benefit consumers but to strengthen their competitive positions at a tumultuous time for the industry, in the hopes that the combination will yield new business opportunities. Some worry that the nation's health care system will come to resemble a series of kingdoms, where consumers are locked into separate ecosystems of pharmacies, doctors, and health care clinics depending on their insurance provider. Given that many people change insurance plans frequently, "you may be bounced from kingdom to kingdom," says B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/health/cvs-aetna-merger.html

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