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CVS to cut thousands of jobs in cost-saving move that could impact Hartford-based insurer Aetna

CVS Pharmacy in Burlington, Vermont on June 19, 2023.
Jakub Porzycki
/
Getty Images
CVS Pharmacy in Burlington, Vermont on June 19, 2023.

CVS Health says it will cut 5,000 jobs nationwide in a cost-saving move that could impact Hartford-based insurer Aetna.

The layoffs were reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday, citing an internal staff memo.

A company spokesperson confirmed the layoff number Tuesday, saying CVS planned to eliminate “a number of non-customer facing positions across the country.”

The company did not specify how the anticipated cuts would impact Aetna’s presence in Hartford. CVS and Aetna merged in 2018 for roughly $70 billion, making the company one of the largest insurance employers in the state.

“At this time, we don’t have a regional breakout of job impacts to share,” said Mike DeAngelis, a CVS spokesperson in an email. “But this decision applies nationally across the company to primarily corporate positions. We employ more than 300,000 people in the U.S.”

The company says it doesn’t expect the layoffs to impact “customer-facing” positions in stores, pharmacies, clinics or customer services centers.

The 2018 merger between CVS and Aetna combined two major players in the American health care industry – one a large pharmacy and the other an massive insurer – in a move that was criticized by some advocates for giving consumers less control over their medical care.

"The layoffs announced today at CVS are more evidence that the recent massive consolidations in the health care industry are bad for both workers and consumers," said Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, in a statement. “Over and over again, we see health care mergers ultimately lead to significant job loss, higher costs for patients, or worse quality of care. It’s past time we take a closer look at who really benefits from these deals.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson was also critical of the layoff announcement Tuesday.

“It is disappointing to see five years after the merger of CVS Health and Aetna, the company is making significant layoffs,” Larson said, in a statement. “It raises questions about the impact large corporate mergers are having on employees, shareholders, and the public. Aetna CVS Health employs thousands of workers in our state and we must ensure they can continue to support their families.”

In 2020, CVS cut a small number of jobs in Hartford following their purchase of Aetna, according to the Hartford Courant.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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