What is the Cigna and Express Scripts deal?

Reviewed and Updated by Kelsey Davis,

Cigna and Express Scripts announced their 54 billion dollar merger in March of 2018. Cigna provides coverage to 95 million beneficiaries around the world and Express Scripts helps fill 1.4 billion prescriptions annually. The goal of this merger is to create both affordable and personalized healthcare for consumers.

Cigna and Express Scripts Merger Close Date

On December 18, 2018, Cigna and Express Scripts received approval from New Jersey, the final state needed to move forward. The deal closed two days later on December 20, 2018. Cigna plans to start offering new products to its customers including access to Express Scripts pharmacy in 2019.

Cigna’s CEO, David Cordani, believes the deal with Cigna and Express Scripts will allow Cigna to offer additional benefits to customers while monitoring their prescription usage and medical costs. Cordani said in a statement that the addition of Express Scripts provides a “more integrated approach that addresses the whole person.” While doing this, Cigna strives to improve affordability and increase drug price transparency.

What is Express Scripts?

Express Scripts is a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). A PBM acts as a middleman between pharmaceutical companies and consumers. They negotiate drug pricing from the pharmaceutical companies for pharmacies. Their role can also include operating mail orders, ensuring patient compliance, managing distribution, negotiating rebates, processing claims, and managing formularies.

PBMs are one of the largest proponents of lowering drug costs. PBMs started as a benefits card and mail-order pharmacy in the 1970s and are responsible for the shift in demand from brand-name drugs to generics. Express Scripts is the country’s largest PBM. OptumRx, CVS, and Express Scripts together control 72% of the U.S. pharmacy benefit manager market. OptumRx is a part of United Healthcare, and CVS purchased Aetna on November 28, 2018. Express Scripts was the final, stand-alone PBM at this size.

Express Scripts provides great benefits to beneficiaries like you. They allow you to pick up your prescription at your neighborhood pharmacy or have it shipped to your home quickly and conveniently. They can also alert you of any drug recalls, price out your medications, and schedule automatic refills for you. Plus, Express Scripts is more than just a PBM and pharmacy – they are a dedicated team of pharmacists, nurse, and advocates who work to give you the personal care you deserve.

How will the Cigna and Express Scripts deal impact you?

This deal was formed amid the CVS and Aetna deal which was finalized in November 2018. Insurance companies have started looking for alternative ways to adapt to the ever-changing health care industry. We expect to see many more deals like this over the next few years. Walgreens and Humana are already rumored to be in talks about merging. These deals are proof that health companies need to respond to customer demand.

It will take time for new plans to be implemented and the results are speculative at this time, but the Cigna and Express Scripts deal is a great example of how Medicare and the healthcare industry can evolve. Amazon has been rumored to be entering the pharmaceuticals business which could lead to increased competition. This may result in lower costs and streamlined services for you. As competition increases, companies will provide additional benefits to keep your business.
If you have any questions or concerns about your Medicare coverage or prescription drug plan, our agents are happy to help! Call us at 844-431-1832 or fill out this form to get in contact with a licensed agent.

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