Earlier this week, CVS Health proposed its plan to acquire Aetna for approximately $69 billion – another step in the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care for patients.

Earlier this week, CVS Health proposed its plan to acquire Aetna for approximately $69 billion – another step in the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care for patients.Click To Tweet

According to CVS, the national retail pharmacy plans to expand services in its pharmacies and retail clinics, and provide in-home care to help lower medical expenses for patients covered by Aetna insurance. This deal could cause a shake up in the market, not only for consumers, but hospitals and competition as well.

While the deal still needs regulatory and shareholder approval, health care and business experts are already weighing in on the long-term effects of a giant merger, and what it could mean for the industry and consumers. Here are a few opinions (so far) on the proposed deal:

  • Evidence from previous health care mergers indicate this combination could lead to high prices and less choices for consumers and competition.
  • The news comes as Amazon threatens to enter to pharmaceutical industry and talks with makers of generic drugs about its entry to market. If Amazon becomes a competitor, CVS could risk losing a key draw to its stores. And while CVS is more than just a health store, many of its shoppers can find cosmetic and household products elsewhere – and usually for less.
  • Hospitals across the country could see a drop in emergency room visits. CVS and Aetna want patients to receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time – rather than treatment plans that add time and cost. Large hospitals and health systems are shifting to a value-based care approach, but many feel they aren’t moving fast enough to make costs lower and more attractive to consumers.

Whether this acquisition is approved is out of our control, but there continues to be a high volume of mergers and acquisitions in the health care industry. So, as communicators, how can we prepare for a smooth transition?

  1. Immediately identify inconsistent messaging and conduct an overall temp check on the affected audiences. Then develop messaging and proof points as well as consumer-friendly content to help communicate important information in a way everyone can understand.
  2. Leverage existing mediums (and create new communications vehicles if needed) to communicate important news and updates, and develop an open line of communication. Also, engage brand ambassadors to help carry the message more broadly and to be an advocate for both organizations.
  3. Be proactive and transparent with all communications before, during and after the merger. There’s likely to be certain limitations with this due to the regulatory environment, but sharing what you can up front will strengthen trust in the brand.

Using these tips during M&A communications is important to keep both parties satisfied, regardless of the outcome.