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California OKs Aetna-CVS deal after commissioner calls for DOJ block

California's Department of Managed Care gave CVS Health the green light to move forward with its $69 billion acquisition of Aetna Nov. 15.

The department's director, Shelley Rouillard, said her unit "thoroughly examined this merger and determined enrollees will have continued access to appropriate healthcare services and also imposed conditions that will help increase access and quality of care, remove barriers to care and improve health outcomes."

The department approved the deal on the condition that CVS and Aetna will not increase health insurance premiums due to acquisition expenses. CVS and Aetna also agreed to keep premium rate increases to a minimum. In addition, the companies agreed to invest almost $240 million in California's healthcare system.

In August, California's insurance commissioner asked the Department of Justice to sue to block CVS' takeover of Aetna. However, in October CVS entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to move forward with the acquisition, with the caveat Aetna would sell its stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to Tampa, Fla.-based WellCare Health Plans. WellCare will assume control of the 2.2 million-member business Dec. 31, assuaging any antitrust concerns from the department.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions:
Bankrupt Mississippi hospital receives takeover bid
CHS to divest 2 South Carolina hospitals by Dec. 31
HCA merges 2 Florida hospitals

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