With Kroger Specialty Purchase, Elevance Closes Gap in Race With Health Service Giants

Elevance Health Inc. plans to buy Kroger Co.’s specialty pharmacy division, the firms revealed on March 18, in a deal that closely follows Elevance’s purchase off Paragon Healthcare, Inc., an infusion center provider. Health care insiders say that the Kroger deal is a shrewd play for Elevance, which in recent years has sought to expand its Carelon health services arm, particularly the CarelonRx PBM.

The deal could help Elevance catch up with other major insurers. Elevance, a for-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate, lags behind its publicly traded managed care competitors, such as The Cigna Group, CVS Health Corp. and UnitedHealth Group, in health services revenue. All three health services divisions, respectively Evernorth, Caremark and Optum, include a major PBM and lucrative specialty pharmacy divisions that serve both their own plans and payers outside their own enterprise. Cigna and CVS’s care management divisions had higher revenues and earnings than their insurance divisions in the fourth quarter of 2023, which is often the case for those firms.

© 2024 MMIT
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has been a reporter for nearly a decade. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered a wide variety of topics in his hometown of Seattle, where he continues to live. Peter’s work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic and The Stranger. Peter attended Colby College.

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