Health

Retail giant Walmart is in the early stages of talks to buy Louisville-based health insurer Humana, according to a report published Thursday evening in the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper cites people familiar with the deal, the terms of which weren’t disclosed. But the move would be the latest in a trend of retail pharmacies acquiring health insurers; in December, CVS bought insurer Aetna.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Walmart has a vast pharmacy business, with locations in most of its roughly 4,700 U.S. stores and in many of it Sam’s Club warehouse locations. Humana is a Medicare-focused insurer that could deepen Walmart’s relationship with a key demographic—seniors—at a time when the retailer is being threatened by Amazon on several fronts.

For Walmart, a deal would hand it a new role in health care, as well as a rich trove of data. In addition to its pharmacies, Walmart already has some primary-care clinics and recently said it would work with a major laboratory company to begin offering lab-testing services in some stores.

Humana employs about 12,000 people in the Louisville area.

A federal judge blocked an attempted merger between Humana and Aetna, another health insurance company, last year citing anti-trust concerns. Since then, Humana has announced plans to buy home health care company Kindred, and that deal is moving forward.

This post has been updated to correct the name of the insurer bought by CVS.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's News Director.