Aetna to buy employee assistance business for $70 million

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 10, 2009

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The country's third-largest private health plan, Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, is moving to create a larger presence for itself in the employee assistance program market with the purchase of Horizon Behavioral Services.

Employee assistance programs typically coordinate psychiatric services and substance abuse treatment for workers on behalf of a given employer. They often also offer other services, such as directing employees to financial counseling or physical therapy.

Horizon, based in Lewisville, Texas, is the third-largest provider of employee assistance programs in the country and is a subsidiary of Psychiatric Solutions, the country's largest operator of privately owned or leased psychiatric inpatient hospitals, according to Aetna.

Aetna plans to pay $70 million for Horizon, which has 1,400 employer clients with a collective 5 million workers both in the U.S. and internationally. The deal is subject to federal and state regulatory approval.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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