Humana to purchase hospice PBM Enclara Healthcare

Humana building
Humana announced a deal to buy hospice PBM provider Enclara Healthcare in order to boost its pharmacy presence. (Humana)

Humana aims to give its pharmacy strategy a boost by acquiring Enclara Healthcare, the largest hospice pharmacy and PBM in the country.

The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, comes as other insurers are ramping up efforts to boost their presence in the pharmacy benefit management space.

Humana said in a release when announcing the deal on Monday that it enables the insurer to cover pharmacy-related needs for hospice care patients and advance technology for in-home pharmacy through improved electronic medical record connectivity.

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“Enclara represents a logical extension of Humana Pharmacy’s strategy given the company’s unique ability to play a role in advanced illness care and supplement our existing care delivery system,” said Scott Greenwell, president of Humana’s PBM arm Humana Pharmacy Solutions, in a statement.

In-house PBMs have become a lucrative option for insurers looking to better manage rising drug costs. Every one of the five major insurers has or will have their own PBM. Anthem, for instance, has launched its own PBM, IngenioRx, and Cigna completed a merger with PBM giant Express Scripts, which contributed to posting $1.35 billion in profits in the third quarter of this year.

UnitedHealth Group's Optum, home to its PBM arm OptumRx, is a significant source of financial growth for the healthcare giant.

Humana’s acquisition, expected to close in the first half of 2020, will also include the acquisition of Enclara Pharmacia, GuidantRx and Avanti Health Care Services.