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Aetna Announces Half-Billion Dollar Purchase of Health Info Firm

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Insurer Aetna Inc. said Tuesday it will spend about $500 million to buy health information technology company Medicity, which develops systems that allow doctors and hospitals to coordinate care and share information.

The Hartford, Conn., managed care company said the deal will speed up its growth in health information technology and exchanges and will be neutral to next year’s financial results.

“This acquisition will enable Aetna to offer a set of convenient, easy-to-access technology solutions for physicians, hospitals and other health care providers,” CEO Mark T. Bertolini said in a statement from the company. “That, in turn, can help improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.”

Aetna is the third largest commercial health insurer based on enrollment, trailing UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellPoint Inc.

Health insurance is its main product, but Aetna also sells dental, group life and disability coverage. Its ActiveHealth Management subsidiary offers clinical decision support technology for employers and patients, but Aetna doesn’t currently provide health information exchange technology for care providers.

Medicity is based in Salt Lake City, and its health information exchange technology reaches more than 760 hospitals and 125,000 doctors.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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