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Anthem's Aspire Acquisition Adds to Trend of Plans Purchasing Providers

News  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   May 23, 2018

The insurer is making moves into service-provider territory, agreeing to purchase the Google-backed palliative care provider.

Anthem Inc. announced plans Wednesday to acquire Aspire Health, a non-hospice advanced care provider based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Aspire currently contracts its services to 20 health plans in 25 states, relying on what it describes as 'predictive clinical and claims-based patient algorithms' to assist patients with serious illnesses.

The move is Anthem's entry into an industry trend of health insurers acquiring service providers, as noted by Forbes and other outlets.

Related: Anthem Reports Declining Enrollment, Flat Operating Revenues

"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," Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem, said in a statement.

"With the addition of Aspire Health to Anthem's other clinical care assets such as CareMore Health and AIM, we will be able to offer our consumers, customers, and other health plan and provider partners a broader array of programs and services that meet their diverse needs and drive future growth opportunities for our company.

Aspire was founded in 2013 by former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Brad Smith, who serves as CEO.

"Several studies have repeatedly demonstrated how advanced illness programs can provide high patient and family satisfaction, reduce hospitalization, and decrease costs," Smith said in a statement. "As part of Anthem, we believe we will be able to further scale our model and positively impact the lives of even more consumers and families, making home-based advanced illness care available to patients who need it."

Below are notes of interest from the transaction:

  • Financial terms of the transaction were not made public in Wednesday's announcement.

  • Some industry players are asking whether Aspire will be able to continue contracting with insurers other than Anthem.

  • The deal is set to close by the end of the third quarter.

  • Anthem said the deal will be neutral on 2018 earnings and accretive for 2019 earnings.

  • Aspire secured a $32 million investment from GV, an investment arm of Google, in 2016.

  • Smith was named a finalist for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2017.

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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