“When you walk into CVS there’s the pharmacy. What if there’s a vision and audiology center, and perhaps a nutritionist, and some sort of care manager?” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said.
CVS plans to use its low-cost clinics, called “MinuteClinic,” to provide medical services to Aetna’s roughly 23 million medical members. In addition to health clinics and medical equipment, CVS could provide assistance with vision, hearing, and nutrition. A combined insurer and pharmacy benefit manager will also likely be better placed to negotiate lower drug prices.
The company expects to invest billions of dollars in the coming years to add clinics and services, largely financed by diverting funds away from other planned investments. That could eventually cut costs substantially, with the clinics serving as an alternative to more expensive hospital emergency room visits.