- Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters
- Walgreens and Humana are looking to take stakes in one another, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
- The retail-pharmacy giant and health insurer are already partners on health clinics in the Kansas City area.
- It’s happening at a time when the lines around healthcare companies are being redrawn, as CVS Health looks to finalize its deal to acquire insurer Aetna, and Amazon moves into the pharmacy business through the acquisition of an online pharmacy.
Walgreens and Humana may be seeking a closer partnership.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the pharmacy giant and health insurer are in talks to take equity stakes in one another. The two are already partners on health clinics in the Kansas City area. Insurers are increasingly turning to primary-care clinics such as these as a way to care for the aging population.
Humana chief financial officer Brian Kane said at investor conference in November that the pilot has been positive so far. “I think we’ll continue to look to expand and deepen these sorts of relationships,” Kane said.
Walgreens declined to comment, and Humana didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn’t the first time Humana has reportedly been looking for a closer relationship with a retailer. In March, Walmart was reportedly looking to acquire Humana, though that hasn’t materialized.
Humana is the second-largest seller of private-health plans for the elderly behind UnitedHealth Group. The business, known as Medicare Advantage, is lucrative and growing as the US population ages.
Walgreens, for its part, is up against stiff competition for customers, facing off against the likes of Amazon, which in June got into the pharmacy business through its acquisition of online-pharmacy PillPack, CVS Health, which is making a big bet on the healthcare aspect of its business through the pending acquisition of insurer Aetna, and retail-giant Walmart.
In October, Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina told Bloomberg that the company should have bought a health insurer four years ago, though at that time it was working to acquire Rite Aid.
“We should have bought an insurance company four years ago when our multiple was higher than their multiple,” Pessina said.
Humana has a market value of $42 billion, while Walgreens has a market value $76 billion.
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