CVS scraps Aetna's plan to move HQ to New York City

Aetna's new headquarters
This glass-paneled building is what Aetna's new Manhattan location would have looked like if the insurer was still planning to move its headquarters out of Connecticut. (Aetna)

Aetna’s big move from Connecticut to New York City is officially off. 

The insurance company had announced in June that it would move its headquarters from Hartford, Connecticut, to the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan starting in late 2018. CEO Mark Bertolini said at the time that the switch would “play a significant part in [Aetna’s] ongoing transformation.”

However, now that CVS has announced a $69 billion deal to acquire Aetna, those plans have been scrapped. A spokesman said the pharmacy company has no intention of moving the insurer’s headquarters out of Connecticut, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Once the transaction closes, CVS will maintain its corporate headquarters in Rhode Island, and Hartford will be considered the “corporate hub” for the combined company’s insurance business, the spokesman added.

For Aetna’s part, a spokesman told the WSJ that the company is still weighing which of its locations it will keep and whether to open a New York office.

New York officials have already halted a $9.6 million incentive package that the city offered Aetna to move its headquarters there, saying the insurer “can’t positively affirm to us that the relocation is happening.”

In return for that monetary incentive, New York was expecting Aetna’s move to bring a $146 million economic benefit to the city. New York officials were also planning to work with Aetna to develop partnerships that support public health, healthy living and digital health innovation. 

But New York’s loss is Hartford’s gain—and one that it sorely needed after the blow it suffered when General Electric moved its headquarters to Boston. The city has also struggled with financial issues.

“I’m thrilled that CVS has confirmed that Aetna will continue to call Hartford home,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy told the WSJ.