Cigna Corp., a global health insurance company, has entered into an agreement to purchase QualCare Alliance Networks Inc. (QANI), which serves about 200,000 customers in self-funded health plans.

The agreement combines Cigna's portfolio of health-related products and services and national scale with QANI’s expertise and capabilities in working with hospital systems to drive innovation, affordability and value, according to Cigna.

See also: Cigna Raises Forecast on Increased Health-Plan Enrollment

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, following customary regulatory approvals.

QANI will continue to offer its full suite of existing products and services. Cigna and QANI together will offer hospital systems and physician groups a suite of managed services such as multi-tier plan administration, population analytics, performance reporting and management, clinical benchmarking and other services.

“This acquisition is an example of Cigna’s ongoing commitment to being a partner of choice to healthcare professionals and hospital systems,” said Matt Manders, president of U.S. commercial markets and global health care operations for Cigna. “It demonstrates our focus on partnering with systems and physician groups to deliver next-generation health care models.”

QANU is currently owned by 16 non-profit hospitals and physician-hospital organizations, with a clientele that spans health systems, unions, local governments, school boards, and other commercial employers.

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