Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Aetna Inc., the third-largest U.S. health insurer, could make acquisitions larger than the $1.35 billion in deployable capital the company has this year, Chief Financial Officer Joe Zubretsky said today.
The insurer also might sell shares or use stock in order to fund larger purchases this year, Zubretsky said. Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna spent $1.6 billion on deals last year.
“We are agnostic as to size,” Zubretsky said in an interview. “We are looking for anything that’s in our strategic plan, including Medicare, Medicaid, building out technology and engaging the consumer.”
With pressure on how much insurers can be reimbursed for care under the 2010 health-care overhaul, health plans are looking to acquire companies to gain new members. Humana Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael McCallister said last week that his company was open to deals worth more than $1 billion to expand in Medicare.
Aetna rose 2.5 percent to $44.78 at 11:47 a.m. New York time, after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that met analyst estimates. The shares had 33 percent in the 12 months before today.
--Editors: Bruce Rule, Adriel Bettelheim
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