Industry analysts say they expect the environment for mergers and acquisitions in the health insurance sector to be “favorable” this year, and thus they anticipate “robust M&A activity” among firms that are eager to diversify their assets and modernize their technology.

However, large, transformational deals, such as Cigna Corp.’s purchase of Express Scripts or CVS Health Corp.’s acquisition of Aetna, likely won’t be the norm in 2021, states a Healthcare Quarterly report published by Moody’s Investors Service in April.

“We’ve already seen several deals this year, and I think those are a good indicator of the kind of deals that you’ll see [going forward],” Dean Ungar, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody’s, tells AIS Health. The Moody’s report highlights UnitedHealth Group’s proposed purchase of analytics firm Change Healthcare, Centene Corp.’s move to buy Magellan Healthcare Inc., Anthem, Inc.’s bid to acquire Puerto Rico Medicare Advantage carrier MMM Holdings Inc., and Cigna’s deal to buy telehealth platform MDLive as examples of transactions in which insurers are aiming to augment their insurance- and non-insurance-related offerings.

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