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Elevance Health ramps up integrated approach to infusion

Elevance Health ramps up integrated approach to infusion

Michael PattonINDIANAPOLIS – The acquisition of Paragon Healthcare by Elevance Health, formerly Anthem, “builds out” the health insurer’s infusion platform and better positions it to compete in a vertically integrating market, say industry analysts. 

Texas-based Paragon Healthcare, which serves more than 35,000 patients at more than 40 ambulatory infusion centers across eight states and in their homes, joins BioPlus, the specialty pharmacy subsidiary of CarepathRx which Elevance acquired in 2023, as part of Elevance Health’s portfolio. 

“This builds out their full offering on specialty infusion,” said Michael Patton, managing director at Provident Healthcare Partners. “One of the big things for the payers bringing this in-house is that pharmacy spend is continuing to increase, and specialty pharmacies, specifically, I think are more than 50% of the overall pharmacy spend. Managing that is important.” 

Paragon Healthcare will operate as part of CarelonRx, the pharmacy services segment of Carelon, an affiliated company of Elevance Health.  

The integration of payers and health care providers is a trend that has been rapidly accelerating, say analysts, pointing to deals like CVS’s acquisition of Aetna and UnitedHealthcare’s acquisition of OptumRx. 

“These consolidations bring a strategy which incorporates market synergies with a core focus on the patient and improving outcomes across the continuum of care,” said Jonathan Sadock, managing partner with Paragon Ventures (which is not affiliated with Paragon Health).  “Since rebranding to Elevance in 2022, Anthem has been establishing a similar model and direction with Carelon to encompass an integrated health and value-based focus.”    

Bringing infusion and pharmacy in-house also sits Elevance Health atop a significant amount of data – something that’s very appealing to payers, says Patton.  

“From a payer perspective and managing that patient population, medication management is very important,” he said.  “Handling anything under your own roof, you know from the data if you’re handing it the right way. There are multiple reasons why this makes sense.” 

A spokesperson for Elevance Health said that, at this time, the company was not providing additional comment beyond its press release.


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