Blog | Innovation and Disruption

Aetna rolls out a no-cost sharing primary care offering for members at CVS Minute Clinics and HealthHUBS

Blog | Innovation and Disruption

Aetna rolls out a no-cost sharing primary care offering for members at CVS Minute Clinics and HealthHUBS

  • CVS Health-owned Aetna on [Aug. 31] rolled out a plan design that would steer patients toward its parent company's brick-and-mortar locations, according to Healthcare Dive.
  • The Aetna Connected plan gives members access to appointments at CVS's MinuteClinics and its newer wellness-focused HealthHUBs for no copay, along with other CVS services like free at-home prescription delivery and discounts on health-related items.
  • The plan is launching for 2021 in the Kansas City insurance market and is targeted to employers with more than 101 employees.

Healthcare Dive is reporting that, “CVS Health-owned Aetna on [Aug. 31] rolled out a plan design that would steer patients toward its parent company's brick-and-mortar locations.

“The Aetna Connected plan gives members access to appointments at CVS' MinuteClinics and its newer wellness-focused HealthHUBs for no copay, along with other CVS services like free at-home prescription delivery and discounts on health-related items,” the article said.

According to the Healthcare Dive article, the plan is launching for 2021 in the Kansas City insurance market. It's targeted to employers with more than 101 employees and is estimated to save members 20% on premiums compared to other PPO plans in the region. The company has already rolled out care management pilots for Aetna members leveraging CVS stores, according to Healthcare Dive. CVS CEO Larry Merlo on an August earnings call noted HealthHUBs continue to drive volume, including a 15% increase in visits associated with chronic conditions over the control group: "an important validation point of our ability to impact medical costs through our consumer-facing assets," he said. The new Aetna Connected plan also includes a 24/7 CVS pharmacist helpline and access to CVS' managed pharmacy network, specialty pharmacy network and home infusion services."

Takeaway

It’s not surprising that Aetna would look to use its Minute Clinics as the basis of a primary care network for lower-cost health plans. Not only will it increase foot traffic to its retail stores, but it will help Aetna manage the total cost of care. The cost savings will come from both better management of those with chronic conditions (as suggested by CVS’s CEO’s comments in the article) and giving MinuteClinic primary care providers access to data that can be used to help refer patients to specialists who have better outcomes with lower total costs of care when more complex care is necessary.

This should create a virtuous cycle for CVS-Aetna by translating into lower premiums, increased market share for Aetna insurance products and increased revenue in CVS stores through more foot traffic. In a more competitive environment where traditional referral patterns are at risk of being upended, it’s crucial for health systems to partner with the CVS’s of the world to capture these referral opportunities.  

About the Author

Chad Mulvany, FHFMA,

is director, healthcare finance policy, strategy and development, HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office.

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