On March 29, the Wall Street Journal reported retail giant Walmart was in preliminary talks with health insurer Humana. The two companies are reportedly looking at a variety of deal options that include the possibility of an acquisition. An agreement between Walmart and Humana would be the latest in a string of mergers and acquisitions affecting the healthcare industry.
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Since federal judges and the US Department of Justice put an end to Humana’s attempted merger with Aetna and Anthem’s planned acquisition of Cigna last year due to antitrust concerns, the company has been exploring other options.
Walmart’s interest in the company would make strategic sense given its large pharmacy business and a failed foray into primary care clinics at some of its locations. However, its interest in the insurance business comes on the heels of reports in January 2018 that Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway were partnering to transform the American healthcare system.
Earlier this year, Amazon was reported as saying that it was looking into ways to address soaring healthcare costs for its employees by rolling out a line of private label over-the-counter medicines and building a business selling medical supplies to doctors, dentists and hospitals.