CVS lays out vision for future as Aetna merger looms

CVS Health described on Tuesday its vision for the future. The company expects its $69 billion merger with health insurer Aetna to close before Thanksgiving. CVS said it has already received approval from 23 states, and it is "well down the line with the remaining 5" states needed for approval.

CVS Health described on Tuesday its vision for the future. The company expects its $69 billion merger with health insurer Aetna to close before Thanksgiving. CVS said it has already received approval from 23 states, and it is "well down the line with the remaining 5" states needed for approval. During a call Tuesday, CVS CEO Larry Merlo said the combined company will emphasize lowering medical costs by increasing patients' adherence to prescription regimens, broadening its membership base, and providing more services through its brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, the combined company plans to close gaps in care, reduce unneeded emergency department trips, and shift costly therapies to less-expensive care sites. According to Merlo, CVS hopes to surpass its original goal of cutting $750 million of corporate expenses and other costs from the merged company. He noted, for example, the new integrated model would focus on better management of five common chronic conditions by integrating pharmacy and medical claims, using its clinical data-set analysis, and providing more services at MinuteClinic to aid in early identification and ongoing management of chronic disease. CVS will pilot new programs at its first concept stores, which it plans to open early next year. "We are hard at work creating a plan to differentiate CVS Health in these patient journeys with the goal of making them simpler and more personalized while making care more accessible," Merlo said.