Partnerships / Acquisitions

MetLife To Gain 35M Members With Versant Health Acquisition

MetLife has agreed to acquire Versant Health, which owns popular brands Davis Vision and Superior Vision, in a $1.675 billion transaction from its owners, an investor group led by Centerbridge Partners, according to a press release.

FFL Partners was also among the investors that previously owned Versant Health, the release noted.

MetLife is hoping to capitalize on statistics that over 90 percent of employees would be interested in receiving vision insurance from their employers, according to the release.

MetLife, after the transaction is done, will gain access to 35 million Versant Health members, while existing MetLife customers will be able to take advantage of the provider network from Versant, the release stated.

Ramy Tadros, president of U.S. Business for MetLife, said the acquisition would "make our market-leading group benefits business even more attractive," according to the release.

"The addition of the strong Davis Vision and Superior Vision brands will immediately establish MetLife as a leader in managed vision care," Tadros said in the release. "We look forward to offering our customers the exceptional member experiences that Versant provides."

MetLife has been expanding into areas like pet insurance, digital estate planning and health savings and spending accounts, and it has offered vision insurance since 2012, the release noted.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the year after regulatory approvals, according to the release.

The healthcare industry, already beleaguered before the pandemic, now faces even more adversity in terms of disorganized payments. Digital payments have increased, though, with around 80 percent of payments now made via ACH. The remaining 20 percent are still paid via paper checks, though, and the wait times and costs are still cumbersome for insurers.

Digital medical services, by contrast, have less upkeep as patients don't have to go in for visits, which could relieve the strain on the over-burdened system. The issue then becomes the efficiency of the electronic claims payments and how to speed those up, PYMNTS reported.

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