Anthem to buy Aspire Health, continuing industry trend

Indianapolis-based Anthem says it plans to buy a large palliative care provider, continuing a trend set by its competitors. 

The insurer announced on Wednesday it had entered into an agreement to acquire Aspire Health, the country's "largest nonhospice community-based palliative care provider," which serves 25 states and Washington, D.C.

“Anthem is focused on enhancing our ability to offer innovative, integrated clinical care models that can improve the quality of healthcare and deliver better outcomes,” Gail K. Boudreaux, president and CEO of the Anthem, said in a statement. “Aspire Health shares our perspective on the increasingly important role of integrated care and has built a unique model that provides palliative care and support services for patients and their families."

The purchase follows a strong first-quarter showing by Aetna, which posted a 30% income increase compared to the first quarter last year, along with a strong operating cash flow. 

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The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the insurer said the purchase would be neutral to 2018 earnings and accretive to earnings next year.

Anthem's jump into nonhospital-based care follows similar, recent steps taken by rival insurers AetnaUnitedHealth and Humana. Humana, in particular, has teamed up with investors to purchase two large postacute care providers including Kindred Healthcare and Curo Health Services.