M&A activity continued to thrive among insurers and providers in 2019.
As was the case in 2018, the healthcare industry saw several megamergers occur in 2019.
Healthcare leaders pointed to industry consolidation as the year's top priority, according to a Definitive Healthcare survey, with different reasons for pursuing mergers.
Providers sought to achieve scale in order to address staffing shortages while insurers looked to respond to the increasing influence of consumerism in healthcare.
While some mergers fell through, many organizations announced or finalized deals during the course of the year.
Below are six major healthcare mergers that were announced or completed in 2019.
The nearly $70 billion megamerger received final judicial approval in September after an extended review by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon.
The merger originally received approval from the Department of Justice in October 2018 but was subject to questions and criticisms by numerous stakeholders.
The deal was marked by scrutiny over vertical mergers, with Leon noting that his approval shouldn't be seen as a rubber stamp.
Centene Corp. announced a $17.3 billion merger with WellCare Health Plans in March, a move seen as doubling down on the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act.
The merged company will be based in St. Louis and encompass 22 million members, $97 billion in revenues, and $5 billion in EBITDA for 2019.
The pending transaction has already received regulatory approval from 25 states.
Earlier this month, Centene agreed to sell its subsidiary IlliniCare Health to CVS Health, including its Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois.
Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives finalized a $29 billion megamerger between the two Catholic health systems in February.
Renamed as "CommonSpirit," the Chicago–based health system has a footprint in 21 states, with more than 700 care sites and 142 hospitals.
In November, the system released its Q1 2020 financials highlighted by $7.1 billion in revenues and a net loss of $227 million.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan announced an intention to merge in August, potentially serving nearly 2.4 million plan members across New England.
As part of the proposed deal, Tufts CEO Tom Croswell would serve as CEO of the merged company while Harvard Pilgrim CEO Michael Carson would serve as president.
The two Massachusetts-based insurers told The Boston Globe earlier this month that the merger would benefit consumers with more affordable health coverage.
Total Health Care and Priority Health received final regulatory approval from the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) in late November.
The two Michigan-based healthcare organizations, which announced plans to merge in late August, plan to complete the deal by the end of 2019.
Prior to receiving approval from state regulators, Total Health Care members approved the merger earlier this fall.
As part of the merger, the two Michigan-based healthcare organizations will also be establishing a $25 million foundation to improve health outcomes in Detroit.
Two New Hampshire-based health systems agreed to merge nine months after signing a letter of intent to merge.
The new merged system will be renamed "Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne" and includes Catholic Medical Center in Manchester.
Both organizations will maintain their locations and local leadership as part of the deal.
Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.