Catamaran, Express Scripts down after Walgreens confirms private exchange
Drug store operator Walgreens (WAG) announced that it would begin providing health insurance to more than 160,000 of its employees through a private health insurance exchange. WHAT'S NEW: Walgreens stated this morning that its employees would receive health insurance through a private insurance exchange, Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange, beginning next year. Walgreens will continue to administer the plan, but the new program will give employees more choices and lower their costs, Walgreens stated. WHAT'S NOTABLE: After acquiring Walgreen’s pharmacy benefit management business in 2011, Catalyst Health Solutions began servicing the medical benefits of Walgreen employees. Catalyst Health was then bought by SXC Health Solutions in 2012, which later changed its name to Catamaran (CTRX). Walgreens' announcement today indicates that Catamaran will lose that business. Also likely weighing on the shares of Catamaran and its peer Express Scripts (ESRX) are fears over the impact of an emerging trend of large companies providing benefits to their employees through private exchanges. Some investors may worry that PBM companies could lose business as a result of this trend. TODAY'S PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Walgreen rose 0.3% to $55.50, Catamaran fell 2%, to $54.35, and another major PBM company, Express Scripts (ESRX), dropped 3.7% to $63.50.