CVS Health beats Amazon, UnitedHealth in home health bidding war

The news: CVS Health won the bidding battle for home health tech services company Signify Health.

  • The retail giant will acquire Signify in an $8 billion deal at $30.50 per share, per CVS Health.

How we got here: CVS Health wasn’t the only contender in the bidding war. By late August, both Amazon and UnitedHealth Group (UHG) had their eyes on Signify to boost their healthcare strategies, per Bloomberg.

At the time, we posited that the acquisition could widen UHG’s value-based care footprint. Especially since Signify already partners with health plans in VBC arrangements to provide analytics and financial models that help cut costs.

For Amazon, we predicted a Signify Health purchase could fit neatly in its home healthcare plans. Signify provides home-based care, including in-home health assessments.

It all comes back to CVS: Signify Health will broaden CVS Health’s physician network considerably and help CVS’ Aetna contend with competitors like Humana.

After scooping up Caravan Health earlier this year, Signify Health has a network of more than 10,000 physicians across all 50 states. That’s important for a retailer like CVS because expanding its physician network is a key component of its strategy. Unlike retail clinic competitors like Walmart (which also hires nurse practitioners), CVS wants its new primary care clinics to be primarily physician-led.

Plus, Aetna-competitor Humana recently acquired the largest home healthcare provider in the US (Kindred at Home).

  • It employs 43,000 caregivers across 40 states alone, and has a 65% overlap with Humana’s Medicare Advantage (MA) marketplaces.
  • Signify Health could help Aetna dive deeper into the home healthcare market. For example, Signify’s clinician network uses home-based visits to identify a patient’s clinical and social needs and then connects patients to follow-up care.
  • In fact, Signify Health’s physicians spend on average 2.5 times longer with a patient at home than providers spend in the average primary care visit, per CVS. That could mean better patient retention and loyalty.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.

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