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Anthem may be ready to make an acquisition

CFO Wayne DeVeydt says firm's low interest rates, other conditions make now a good time for a deal

Another health insurer may be eyeing a potential acquisition. Anthem Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt told investors during the UBS Global Healthcare Conference in New York Tuesday that the insurer's low interest rates make it an attractive candidate for a possible acquisition, reported Reuters.

The nation's second-largest insurer is well-positioned to acquire smaller insurers, such as Cigna or Humana, noted Deveydt. Last week, analysts predicted a similar transaction involving Aetna's acquisition of either Cigna or Humana, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Acquisitions have their perks, DeVeydt added, as they create opportunities for companies to grow. DeVeydt's comments regarding the pricing environment came amid recent speculation that the industry's Big Five insurers would shrink to four, according to Reuters.

DeVeydt also expressed interest in expanding Anthem's Medicare business, most likely in the three states with the largest healthcare markets: Florida, Texas and California. Analysts predicted Aetna has a similar mindset and has been eyeing Humana because of its booming Medicare business.

If Anthem wants to play ball, the industry has its fair share of smaller Medicaid providers that would serve as successful acquisition targets--Molina Healthcare, WellCare Health Plans and Centene Corp. all have market capitalizations ranging from $3.5 billion to $8.3 billion, Reuters pointed out. What's more, now may be an ideal time for Anthem to extend an offer, considering how Medicaid expansion helped boost the insurer's 2014 earnings.

Humana's market capitalization is $26.5 billion, while Cigna's is $34.3 billion.

Anthem's last major acquisition was in 2012 when it purchased healthcare provider Amerigroup for $4.5 billion, reported Reuters.

For more:
- here's the Reuters article

Related Articles:
Aetna eyes Humana's value-based care potential
Humana's stock prices could thwart Aetna deal
Booming Medicare business could make Humana an acquisition target
3 ways Anthem plans to reinvent Medicaid
Medicaid expansion helps Anthem, UnitedHealth boost earnings