Could CVS Caremark Become A Kaiser?

I know the popular opinion is to talk about CVS Caremark splitting up.  Let me go radically in the other extreme. 

I think everyone has an appreciation for what Kaiser has created – insurer, provider, pharmacy, …  They’ve created an integrated system with impressive outcomes, passionate consumers, and a connected technology backbone.  There are a few other organizations that have had regional success doing the same – HealthPartners, Geisinger, … 

The question I would have is who is in the best position to build themselves into an integrated system.  The two companies that jump out at you are United Healthcare and CVS Caremark.  Of course, neither of them have the provider (aka hospital) assets. 

But, I think the point here is that most people I talk to agree that an integrated model is the right model “on paper”.  It can (in theory) offer the best patient experience.  It can drive the best integrated data.  It can coordinate across business lines to accomplish the best outcomes. 

So, it makes me wonder why we let Wall Street dictate the strategy here.  In many cases, structural changes take time.  If building an integrated model is the right concept, why isn’t the talk about CVS Caremark buying a health plan and subsequently jumping into the provider space with ACO models?  Why isn’t the discussion about United Healthcare buying up hospitals and physician groups?

Maybe I’m just trying to present a different scenario or maybe I have rose-colored glasses on, but I think it’s an interesting question to ponder.

(Note: As I’ve disclosed before, I both own CVS Caremark stock and have a business relationship with them.)


  1. How Do The Big PBMs Grow? | Enabling Healthy Decisions - January 17, 2014

    […]  With a few exceptions, I think this strategy is off the table.  I’ve loved the CVS Caremark integration for years, and I think it’s showing dividends.  Rite-Aid is probably the only big […]

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