CIGNA (NYSE:CI) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the healthcare division of Great-West Life & Annuity (AMEX:GWL) in order to expand its offerings to small and midsize businesses. Great-West Healthcare's competitively differentiated portfolio of products has particular appeal among companies seeking financial flexibility through a variety of funding options.

The acquisition, expected to close during the first half of 2008, includes Great-West Healthcare's full portfolio of health and group insurance offerings and the supporting IT infrastructure. Products include traditional managed care PPO, POS, HMO and Open Access plans, as well as consumer-driven healthcare products such as HRAs and HSAs. These offerings will complement CIGNA's current range of health benefits and related specialty products and services.

"This acquisition aligns very well with our strategy by enhancing our competitiveness in the middle market segment and expanding our participation and offerings in the small business segment," H. Edward Hanway, CIGNA chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Published on: Nov 27, 2007