Some of the biggest healthcare mergers and acquisitions of 2021

Steven Loeb · December 28, 2021 · Short URL:

They include deals from Microsoft, Humana, Optum, Intermountain, Oracle, and One Medical

After a hot 2020 in healthcare mergers and acquisitions, 2021 came out of the gate swinging, with over 30 new deals being announced in just the first two months of the year.

It never let up either, growing every quarter, according to data from Rock Health: in fact, Q3 2021, with 79 deals, was the largest quarter to date and August, which saw 33 deals, was the biggest digital health M&A month ever. 

2021 already broke the record for healthtech funding, and it's already the second largest M&A year ever as well. This is an exciting time to be in the healthtech space, for both new and established companies. 

Here are some of the biggest healthcare mergers and acquisitions of 2021:Primary care platform One Medical acquired Iora Health, a company that which works with insurers and employers to create private practices that are catered to specific communities, specifically Medicare patients who are over 65 years old

Price: $2.1 billion 

Date: Announced June 7, completed September 1

The acquisition will allow One Medical to extend its clinics and services to the Medicare population.

“Chris McKown and I founded Iora Health over 10 years ago to build an innovative primary care model that transforms lives and improves outcomes through relationship-based care, and we are excited to take this next exciting step with One Medical,” Rushika Fernandopulle, co-founder and CEO of Iora Health, said in a statement. 

“Together, with our aligned cultures, shared mission, and complementary models, we can drive even greater impact for our patients, our teams, and our investors, and most importantly, our shared vision of transforming healthcare.”

Prior to this acquisition, Iora Health had raised over $343 million in venture funding, most recently a $126 million round in February of last year.  
File:Oracle Logo.svg - Wikimedia CommonsDatabase management software company Oracle acquired Cerner, a supplier of health information technology services, devices, and hardware

Price: $28.3 billion

Date: Announced December 20

Oracle bought Cerner for $95.00 per share. Oracle expects Cerner to be a huge additional revenue growth engine as it expands Cerner’s business into many more countries throughout the world.

The transaction is expected to close in 2022. 

“Working together, Cerner and Oracle have the capacity to transform healthcare delivery by providing medical professionals with better information—enabling them to make better treatment decisions resulting in better patient outcomes,” Larry Ellison, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer at Oracle, said in statement.

“With this acquisition, Oracle’s corporate mission expands to assume the responsibility to provide our overworked medical professionals with a new generation of easier-to-use digital tools that enable access to information via a hands-free voice interface to secure cloud applications. This new generation of medical information systems promises to lower the administrative workload burdening our medical professionals, improve patient privacy and outcomes, and lower overall healthcare costs.”
Mental wellness platform Headspace merged with Ginger, an on-demand mental health company providing access to emotional support via coaching, therapy and psychiatry, to form Headspace Health

Price: $3 billion

Date: Announced August 25closed October 14

Headspace Health is expected to reach nearly 100 million lives across over 190 countries through direct-to-consumer business and over 2,700 enterprise and health plan partners around the globe. Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger, took over as CEO of Headspace Health, while CeCe Morken remained as CEO of Headspace, and also became President of Headspace Health. 

“We are witnessing a mental health crisis unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, yet the majority of mental healthcare today is neither broadly accessible nor affordable,” CeCe Morken, CEO of Headspace, said in a statement.

“Together, as Headspace Health, we will address the systemic challenges of access and affordability in a fundamentally different way by creating the world’s most holistic, scalable, and effective mental health and wellbeing company.”

K Health, which uses AI to help people understand how doctors diagnose and treat those with similar symptoms and conditions acquisition, acquired Trusst, a messaging-only platform that connects people with a licensed therapist in their state

Price: Undisclosed

Date: Announced August 24

The acquisition of Trusst will expand K Health’s mental health offering. Bill Hudenko, the former CEO of Trusst, became Global Head of Mental Health at K Health.

“Nearly 70% of physical ailments have a mental health component, yet many primary care doctors don’t know who to refer their patients to,” Allon Bloch, co-founder and CEO of K Health, said in a statement.

“Good health requires good mental health and with Trusst, K Health will not only give millions of people access to a therapist whenever they need one, but will be able to help them identify and treat any physical ailments that may be associated.”

Intermountain Medical Center - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association

Intermountain Healthcare, the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West of the United States, merged with SCL Health, a Catholic health system based in Broomfield, Colorado

Price: $11 billion

Date: Announced December 15

The two companies originally signed a letter of intent in September before making the agreement formal in December. Upon completion of the merger, the combined system will employ more than 58,000 caregivers and operate 33 hospitals. It will run 385 clinics across six states and provide health insurance to about one million people.

“We’re excited to merge with SCL Health to usher in a new frontier for the health of communities throughout the Intermountain West and beyond,” Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain, said in a statement.

“American healthcare needs to accelerate the evolution toward population health and value, and this merger will swiftly advance that cause across a broader geography. We’ll bring together the best practices of both organizations to do even more to enhance clinical excellence, transform the patient experience, and support healthy lives.”  UnitedHealthCare's Optum purchased Change Healthcare, a healthcare technology company that focuses on accelerating the transformation of the healthcare system.

DateJanuary 6

Price: $13 billion

When the deal closes, Change Healthcare will join with OptumInsight to provide software and data analytics, technology-enabled services and research, advisory and revenue cycle management offerings. OptumInsight provides data, analytics, research, consulting, technology and managed services solutions to hospitals, physicians, health plans, governments and life sciences companies.

Upon closing, Neil de Crescenzo, President and CEO of Change Healthcare, will serve as OptumInsight’s chief executive officer, leading the combined organization.

“This opportunity is about advancing connectivity and accelerating innovations and efficiencies essential to a simpler, more intelligent and adaptive health system. We share with Optum a common mission and values and importantly, a sense of urgency to provide our customers and those they serve with the more robust capacities this union makes possible,” de Crescenzo said in a statement. 

The deal was expected to close the second half of the year, but is now being reviewed by the Department of Justice after the American Hospital Association said the deal with violate antitrust laws. It is now expected to close in early 2022.Centene CorporationHealthcare insurance company Centene acquired Magellan Health, a healthcare management organization that focuses on managing behavioral healthcare and diagnostic imaging.

DateJanuary 4

Price: $2.2 billion

Once the transaction is finalized, Centene will establish a behavioral health platform for its 41 million members with capabilities to deliver better health outcomes for complex, high-cost populations. Magellan Health will bring 5.5 million new members to Centene on government-sponsored plans; the company also provides specialty health services for 18 million third-party customer members, and it will adds 2 million PBM members and 16 million medical pharmacy members. 

As part of Centene's Health Care Enterprises, Magellan Health will continue to operate independently. Ken Fasola, CEO of Magellan Health, and other members of Magellan Health's leadership team, have agreed to join Centene.

"There is a critical need for a fundamentally better approach to supporting people with complex, chronic conditions through better integration of physical and mental health care. This has become even more evident in light of the pandemic which has driven a dramatic rise in behavioral health needs," Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene, said in a statement.

"This acquisition accelerates our diversification strategy and enhances our ability to build next generation capabilities in our specialty care business by leveraging our scale and investments in technology. Furthermore, we are very familiar with the range of Magellan Health's healthcare solutions as we have been one of their customers over many years, and our shared commitment to taking care of the most vulnerable populations makes this transaction a natural step."

Founded in 1969, Magellan had raised $101 million in funding before going public in 2004.Bain Capital

Private equity firms Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman acquired cloud-based electronic medical record provider Athenahealth

Price: $17 billion 

Date: Announced November 22

Athenahealth partners with more than 140,000 ambulatory care providers, throughout all 50 states and across more than 120 specialties. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022 and is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Bob Segert, chairman & chief executive officer of athenahealth, will continue to lead the company along with the current management team.

“Today marks a significant milestone for athenahealth and our partnership with Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital, and we are thrilled to work with Hellman & Friedman and Bain Capital to drive the next phase of our growth journey. Our employees, customers, and partners are the source of our success and inspiration as we create a thriving ecosystem that delivers accessible, high-quality, and sustainable healthcare for all,” Segert said in a statement.

Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital will each retain a minority investment in athenahealth, as well as other new coinvestors, including GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.


Accolade, a provider of solutions that help people better understand, navigate and utilize the healthcare system and their workplace benefits, acquired PlushCare, a virtual primary care and mental health treatment company

Price: $450 million

Date: Announced April 23, closed June 8

The deal helps Accolade expand into the virtual primary care space

“Our mission is to reinvent healthcare, and this acquisition represents another important step towards realizing that goal. By expanding our clinical team of physician medical directors, nurses, specialists, and benefits experts to include primary care doctors and mental health experts, we are responding to customers who are asking Accolade to expand our capacity to serve their employees at every step of their care journey. Equally important, we extend our capacity to deliver measurable value for employers seeking coordinated, longitudinal care at scale for their workforce," Rajeev Singh, chief executive officer at Accolade, said in a statement.

PlushCare had raised $31 million in venture funding prior to the acquisition.


Accolade also acquired 2nd.MD, an Expert Medical Opinion and medical decision support company

Date: Announced January 14closed March 4

Price: $460 million

Founded in 2011, combining the Houston-based 2nd.MD's solution with Accolade’s health and benefits solutions and clinical service offerings, is meant to simplify the healthcare experience for employees. The idea is to also increase ROI for employers by ensuring their employee populations are receiving appropriate care and reducing unnecessary treatment in high-cost scenarios.

Accolade will continue to offer 2nd.MD’s service on a stand-alone basis as well. 

“We share a common vision to help every person live their healthiest life by dramatically improving quality and accessibility of care through a people-focused, clinically-driven support model. Bringing 2nd.MD’s world-class Care Team and digital approach with expert medical consultation into Accolade, and continuing to offer it on a stand-alone basis, will have an immediate and measurable impact for our customers, their employees, and the health plans we work with,” Singh said in a statement. 

“Both companies have built deep relationships with employers and health plans by helping employees navigate the increasingly complex and inconsistent healthcare system. With the addition of 2nd.MD, we’ll nearly double our total addressable market while providing the most comprehensive, integrated healthcare navigation experience available.”

2nd.MD is a partner with over 300 employers and the country's top health plans. It connects more than 7 million people to over 900 nationally recognized, board-certified medical specialists covering all adult and pediatric specialty conditions.  
Evernorth, the health services portfolio of Cigna, acquired virtual care delivery platform MDLIVE

Date: Announced February 26closed April 19

Price: Not disclosed

Cigna launched Evernorth in September as a way "to accelerate delivery of innovative and flexible health service solutions." This company says that the addition of MDLIVE is meant to help expand Evernorth's capabilities to deliver a more affordable, convenient and connected patient care experience.

"Customers expect more convenient care interactions, and COVID-19 has rapidly accelerated this need. We see an immediate opportunity to build a new model of care delivery, one that delivers a connected experience with greater affordability, predictability and simplicity. With the opportunity to serve millions more people, and with more personalized ways to deliver care, we will have an even greater impact on our customers, clients and partners," Tim Wentworth, Chief Executive Officer of Evernorth, said in a statement.

"Combining MDLIVE's platform and strong network for virtual providers with our comprehensive care solutions, we will be better positioned to optimize the care journey to improve affordability and accessibility, and to deliver superior support to health plans as they advance their own care delivery models for the future."

Founded in 2006, MDLIVE is a telehealth provider, which has over 40 million members nationwide. The company treats over 50 non-emergency conditions, including colds, allergies, and insect bites, while also providing behavioral health services and dermatology.

Cigna and MDLIVE had previously partnered as far back as 2013, offering the MDLive program in June to employers with self-insured health plans. The two companies expanded that partnership in 2020, giving patients access to primary care doctors through MDLIVE's telemedicine platform.

Prior to the deal, MDLIVE had raised $198.6 million in venture funding from investors that include Heritage Group, Sutter Health, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, and former Apple CEO John Sculley.  
Humana acquired home health and hospice provider Kindred At Home

Price: $8.1 billion 

Date: Announced April 27closed August 17

Humana bought the remaining 60 percent interest in Kindred at Home as a way to continue commitment to investing in home-based clinical solutions.

KAH employs approximately 43,000 caregivers providing home health, hospice and community care services to over 550,000 patients annually. It has locations in 40 states.

As part of the transaction, KAH’s home health operations will be integrated into Humana’s Home Solutions business led by Susan Diamond. KAH will adopt Humana’s new payer-agnostic healthcare services brand, CenterWell, transitioning to CenterWell Home Health.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of Kindred at Home and fully integrate their home health services and clinical expertise into Humana’s value-based home health business,” Bruce D. Broussard, Humana’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement. 

“The addition of Kindred at Home will help us significantly expand our home health offering, with a focus on accelerating clinical innovation, improving patient outcomes, increasing satisfaction for patients and providers, reducing the total cost of care and providing greater value for health plan partners.”Microsoft acquired Nuance, a provider of conversational AI and cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence for healthcare providers

Price: $19.7 billion

DateAnnounced April 12

Nuance’s products include the Dragon Ambient eXperience, Dragon Medical One and PowerScribe One for radiology reporting. Its solutions, which work with core healthcare systems, including relationships with Electronic Health Records, are currently used by more than 55% of physicians and 75% of radiologists in the U.S., and used in 77% of U.S. hospitals.

Mark Benjamin will remain CEO of Nuance, reporting to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud & AI at Microsoft.

“Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in a statement.

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance.”

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