Aetna's Brave Old World

Burned by managed care, it refocuses on insurance

Two years ago, Aetna Inc. seemed to be on the verge of transforming the health-care landscape. It bought U.S. Healthcare Inc. for an eyepopping $8.2 billion. Executives talked of creating the first national, fully integrated managed-health-care insurer. With the industry rapidly consolidating, Aetna would be among the handful of behemoths able to dictate terms to customers and health-care providers alike.

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